The Gallup Poll has results that may seriously rattle everyone’s assumptions of American society and politics. From 1937, the first time they started asking about church membership, to 1999, about 70% of Americans told Gallup they belonged to a church, synagogue, or other house of worship. In the last 22 years the number has dropped by 23 points to 47%.
The decline in church membership is primarily a function of the increasing number of Americans who express no religious preference. Over the past two decades, the percentage of Americans who do not identify with any religion has grown from 8% in 1998-2000 to 13% in 2008-2010 and 21% over the past three years.
Church membership among Millennials (born 1981-1996) has dropped from 51% around 1999 to 36% last year, but all generational groups have seen a decline.
The decline in faith long proceeded Donald Trump’s attempts at being a cult figure for fundamentalist Christians, but it could be interesting to see how he affected the trend.
It will also be interesting to see what affect the pandemic and lockdown has had on places of worship over the last year.