Gallup Poll Indicates Church Membership is Falling
Just in time for Easter and Passover, a new Gallup poll shows the percentage of U.S. adults who belong to a church or other religious institution has dropped 20 percentage points over the past 20 years. The percentage in 2018 was at it's lowest level since 1999 when the poll began. In 2018, 50 percent of Americans surveyed were church members. Among major demographic groups, the biggest drops were recorded among Democrats and Hispanics.
Gallup says church membership was 70 percent in 1999. Since that year the percentage has dropped steadily and the percentage of U.S. adults with no religious affiliation has jumped from 8 percent to 19 percent. There was a sharp decline in church membership among Catholics, from 76% to 63% over the past two decades. Membership among Protestants dropped from 73% to 67% over the same time period.
Among Hispanic Americans church membership dropped from 68% to 45% since 2000, much bigger drop than for non-Hispanic and black Americans.
Church membership among Democrats fell from 71% to 48%, compared to a more modest drop from 77% to 69% among Republicans.
Ironically before I saw this poll I had an interesting conversation with a fellow Christian friend of mine who said more Republicans are religious than Democrats. I told him I thought that notion was preposterous. For the record I am a registered Independent.
I said that because I have many friends from each political party who consider themselves religious and attend church on a regular basis. This Gallup survey however would suggest he was right.
Among Americans 65 and older, church membership between 2016 and 2018 averaged 64%, compared to 41% among those aged 18 to 29.
The Gallup surveys over the last 20 years included at least 2,000 U.S. adults and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Some findings are based on aggregated interviews from 1998-2000 and 2016-2018, with each period including interviews with more than 7,000 adults.
Just last Christmas Eve Gallup released a poll that found religion was important to 72 percent of Americans. That begs the question, do you have to be a member of a church to be religious?
You can check out the Gallup details here: https://news.gallup.com/topic/religion.aspx