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Although the United States is one of the more religious countries, particularly among Western nations , it is far less religious than it used to be. Barely three-quarters of Americans now identify with a religion and only about half claim membership in a church, synagogue or mosque.

The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church: in America | Aquinas and More Catholic Gifts

The rate of U. A sharp increase in the proportion of the population with no religious affiliation, a decline in church membership among those who do have a religious preference, and low levels of church membership among millennials are all contributing to the accelerating trend. The challenge is clear for churches, which depend on loyal and active members to keep them open and thriving. How do they find ways to convince some of the unaffiliated religious adults in society to make a commitment to a particular house of worship of their chosen faith?


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Roughly one in four U. Church leaders must also grapple with the generational slide away from religion.

Millennials are much less likely than their elders to indicate a religious preference, and presumably the nearly one-third of millennials without a religious preference are unlikely to ever join a church. But the roughly two-thirds of millennials who do express a religious preference may one day be convinced to join, perhaps as more get established in their lives, including having families, which can be an impetus to becoming a part of a faith community. Another obstacle churches face is Americans' eroding confidence in the institution of organized religion.

While organized religion is not the only U. In addition to the ongoing trends toward declining religiosity, Americans who are religious may also be changing their relationship to churches.

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They may not see a need to, or have a desire to, belong to a church and participate in a community of people with similar religious beliefs. These trends are not just numbers, but play out in the reality that thousands of U. Religious Americans in the future will likely be faced with fewer options for places of worship, and likely less convenient ones, which could accelerate the decline in membership even more.


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Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works. Results are based aggregated data from Gallup telephone interviews with random samples of U. Annual trend results on church membership are mostly based on samples of at least 2, U. Search, examine, compare and export nearly a century of primary data. Subscribe to receive weekly Gallup News alerts. Never miss our latest insights. About one in three U.

Newsweek story on decline, fall of ‘Christian America’ prompts debate | Archdiocese of Baltimore

Catholics say a recent sex abuse scandal has them questioning whether they would remain in the church. Majorities express confidence in their church's priests and in Pope Francis. Seventy-two percent of Americans say religion is important to them, but few think its influence on U. Trump job approval among highly religious, white Protestants is high and has remained stable since he took office.

Notice: JavaScript is not enabled. Please Enable JavaScript Safely. Figures are the percentage who say they belong to a church, synagogue or mosque. Have a religious preference 73 64 -9 Do not have a religious preference 10 7 -3 Data for the small proportion of respondents who did not answer the religious preference question are not shown approximately four in 10 of these respondents indicated they were members of a church in each time period.

U.S. Church Membership Down Sharply in Past Two Decades

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