Poll: Church membership in US plummets over past 20 years

RNG

Forum Staff
Apr 2013
39,820
27,623
La La Land North
Anecdotally I was sure this was happening, but this is the first hard data to back it up. And the rate of change is surprisingly high.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Christian and Jewish Americans prepare to celebrate Easter and Passover, respectively, Gallup finds the percentage of Americans who report belonging to a church, synagogue or mosque at an all-time low, averaging 50% in 2018.

U.S. church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s. The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade.


https://news.gallup.com/poll/248837/church-membership-down-sharply-past-two-decades.aspx
 
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Dec 2018
3,312
2,444
Wisconsin
Anecdotally I was sure this was happening, but this is the first hard data to back it up. And the rate of change is surprisingly high.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Christian and Jewish Americans prepare to celebrate Easter and Passover, respectively, Gallup finds the percentage of Americans who report belonging to a church, synagogue or mosque at an all-time low, averaging 50% in 2018.

U.S. church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s. The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade.


https://news.gallup.com/poll/248837/church-membership-down-sharply-past-two-decades.aspx
As one of the resident atheists of this forum, I actually don't see this as a good thing.

I grew up going to church every Sunday where we gathered with our neighbors, organized volunteer work, then sat around the table with my family to talk and have lunch. I also attended CCD classes with kids from different schools and gained a lot of friends and support from doing so. It helped build my connection with my community, my family and my friends.

Now could all this have been done without going to a building and singing to a god I didn't have evidence to believe in? Of course. But I think having a mechanism that brings the community together isn't necessarily a bad thing.
 

RNG

Forum Staff
Apr 2013
39,820
27,623
La La Land North
I have personal experience with two types of churches. Currently, the former Miss RNG and her family are dedicated members of a fairly fundamentalist church, and they got Mrs. RNG into it in a big way. Want to guess what is not discussed at thanksgiving dinner in the family?

Anyway, their experience, and what it does for them, and what it does for the way they react to the world around them is a very positive thing. Although they are fundies, they are not the fundie menace.

And then there is the church my mother-in-law goes to. Although they call themselves a different denomination, I'm convinced they are a branch of the Westboro Baptists. Black hearted bastards every one of the bigoted conceited assholes. And on top of that they're not very nice.

But still, I think that organized religion does more harm than good.
 
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Mar 2019
2,574
590
Texas
I am left wondering about how many people believe in a higher power?

I do not think that belief in God and going to church go hand in hand as much as they did in the past.

Many people still believe in God but do not want to blow the guy at the church anymore.
 
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Jul 2014
15,510
9,596
massachusetts
All religions fade over time.
New beliefs spring up to fill the void.
But I don't think Atheism fades.
There's nothing to become disillusioned with.
 
Jul 2008
19,026
12,884
Virginia Beach, VA
As one of the resident atheists of this forum, I actually don't see this as a good thing.

I grew up going to church every Sunday where we gathered with our neighbors, organized volunteer work, then sat around the table with my family to talk and have lunch. I also attended CCD classes with kids from different schools and gained a lot of friends and support from doing so. It helped build my connection with my community, my family and my friends.

Now could all this have been done without going to a building and singing to a god I didn't have evidence to believe in? Of course. But I think having a mechanism that brings the community together isn't necessarily a bad thing.
It is a bad thing if what brings you together tells you to exclude others that don’t believe in the same imaginary friend that you do.
 
Jul 2008
19,026
12,884
Virginia Beach, VA
All religions fade over time.
New beliefs spring up to fill the void.
But I don't think Atheism fades.
There's nothing to become disillusioned with.
“If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.” - Penn Jillette
 
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Jul 2018
2,438
627
Earth
Anecdotally I was sure this was happening, but this is the first hard data to back it up. And the rate of change is surprisingly high.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Christian and Jewish Americans prepare to celebrate Easter and Passover, respectively, Gallup finds the percentage of Americans who report belonging to a church, synagogue or mosque at an all-time low, averaging 50% in 2018.

U.S. church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s. The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade.


https://news.gallup.com/poll/248837/church-membership-down-sharply-past-two-decades.aspx
Church attendance figures mirror the increase in the decrease in housing segregation. Churches are just local businesses that depend on certain ethnic and economic demographics for their continued support. When people move out of the the church's zone they seldom return and the church will go into decline. The new people in the area will seldom if ever support the existing church. That is why integration was so fiercely resisted in the past. The churches did not want to lose their customers.
 
Dec 2015
18,554
17,831
Arizona
Anecdotally I was sure this was happening, but this is the first hard data to back it up. And the rate of change is surprisingly high.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Christian and Jewish Americans prepare to celebrate Easter and Passover, respectively, Gallup finds the percentage of Americans who report belonging to a church, synagogue or mosque at an all-time low, averaging 50% in 2018.

U.S. church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s. The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade.


https://news.gallup.com/poll/248837/church-membership-down-sharply-past-two-decades.aspx

Sadly, this is probably true or at least it's what we are seeing in the Methodist Church and considering the latest controversies about gay pastors and marriage, I predict that many more will leave our denomination. All my experiences with religion have been very positive, but my sons are no longer interested. I think they see the hypocrisy of Christians and can't stand what they see. I can't blame them, but my history with the church is deeply rooted and very positive.
My philosophy is now and has always been: Live and let live.
 
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