Church Goers Now In The Minority In The US For First Time In History

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 30 Mar 2021 15:22
Churchgoers Now In The Minority In The US For First Time In HistoryPixy/PA

The number of Americans who belong to churches, synagogues and mosques in the United States has fallen to an all-time low.

Just 47% of people in the US said they belong to a house of worship, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999, according to a new poll by Gallup.


The analytics company has been gathering data on the number of church memberships for more than eight decades, and never before have so few been recorded.

When records began in 1937, church membership in the US was around 73%, dropping to 70% over the next decade, where it remained for 60 more years.

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Twice a year, Gallup quizzes Americans on their religious beliefs, as well as their practices, to see which holidays they are celebrating, in addition to their church-going habits.


The results suggest the decline in church memberships, for any religion, are largely down to an increase in Americans who have no particular religious preference.

According to Gallup’s biannual poll results, the number of Americans who say they do not identify with a particular religion has grown from 8% between 1998 and 2000, to 13% between 2008 and 2010. That number has grown, however, to 21% over the last three years.

The reduction in church memberships isn’t purely down to an increase in the number of people with no religious affiliation, as the number of church members among people who do consider themselves as religious has gone down as well.

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An average of 73% of religious Americans were actual church members between the years of 1998 and 2000, however that number has dropped to around 60% over the last three years.

There are several different factors to consider when looking at why the numbers have dropped, though one key factor does appear to be age.

Around 66% of people Americans born before 1946 belong to a church, mosque or synagogue, while just 58% of baby boomers and 50% of Generation X hold memberships. Meanwhile, that figure drops to just 36% when it comes to millennials, and while no data has been gathered in terms of Gen Z just yet, the trends appear to show they’re heading in the same direction.

Although every church member has their own reasons for attending, a separate study by Gallup found sermons were the main reason behind people still attending church.


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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing on to UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: News, America, Church, Religion


  1. Gallup

    U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time