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Gallup poll shows notable decrease in church attendance

Congregants sit in largely empty pews during service at Zion Baptist Church, April 16, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. The Associated Press/Photo by Jessie Wardarski, File

Gallup poll shows notable decrease in church attendance

A Gallup poll released on Wednesday questioned Americans from various faith backgrounds about their religious practices. The poll found a marked decrease in the frequency with which they attend religious services compared to previous years. From 2021 to 2023, only 30 percent of Americans aid they attended religious services “almost every week” or more, according to the poll. That’s down from similar polls conducted for the years 2011-2013 when 38 percent of respondents said the same, and for 2000-2002, when 42 percent reported attendance almost every week or more.

How does the data break down by faith or denomination? The poll examined the religious service attendance of Americans of several faiths, including Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslins, Hindus, Mormons, and even atheists and agnostics. Mormons reported the highest attendance between 2021 and 2023, with 67 percent reporting attendance of “almost every week” or more, but it was still an 8 percentage point drop over the past decade. Protestants came in second at 44 percent attendance of “almost every week” or more, down from 49 percent since 2011-2013. Catholics were at 33 percent from 2021-2023. Unsurprisingly, atheists and agnostics registered the lowest attendance of religious services, with only 3 percent saying they attended “almost every week” or more.

Does Gallup make any predictions? Gallup says church attendance “will likely continue to decline in the future, given younger Americans’ weaker attachments to religion.” The poll cites data showing that 35 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds have no religious preference. It adds that only 22 percent of young adults, including those with or without a religious preference, attend religious services regularly. That’s 8 percentage points below the national average.

Dig deeper: Read C.R. Riley’s column in WORLD Opinions about why some are leaving the church.

Johanna Huebscher

Johanna Huebscher is a student at Bob Jones University and a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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