Church Membership Has Fallen Below Majority In US For First Time Ever

Mar 30, 2021, 6:48 AM | Updated: 10:23 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A new poll from Gallup shows church membership across all religions in the United States has fallen below 50% for the first time.

According to the survey, about 47% of people said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque. When the same survey was conducted in 2000, that number was 70%

Gallup has been conducting this particular poll for 84 years. In that time, church membership peaked in the 1940s at 76%

The poll attributes the sharp decline to a rise in Americans who have no religious preference. Millennials are most likely to not be members, and Gen Zers are showing similar trends as they near adulthood.

The percent of U.S. residents who don’t identify with a religion jumped from 8% between 1998 – 2000 to 21% over the last three years, according to the survey.

“Church membership is strongly correlated with age,” according to Gallup.

About 66% who were born before 1946 belong to a church. In the baby boomer generation, about 58% belong to a church. Approximately half of Gen Xers say they belong to a religious organization, but that number drops to 36% in millennials.

“The decline in church membership, then, appears largely tied to population change, with those in older generations who were likely to be church members being replaced in the U.S. adult population with people in younger generations who are less likely to belong,” according to Gallup.

However, that doesn’t account for the entirety of the decline.

The survey shows that portions of traditionalists, baby boomers and Gen Xers have been leaving religious services behind over the past years, and membership from those born before 1946 dropping more than 10 points over the last 20 years. The percent of baby boomers who belong to a church fell nine points in the same period, and generation x’s numbers declined by 12 points.

Church membership is down across all religions, though the decline is most prevalent among Catholics – down 18 points. Protestants are down nine points.

Read the full report here.

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Church Membership Has Fallen Below Majority In US For First Time Ever