WASHINGTON, D.C. — The overwhelming majority of People have a spiritual desire — predominantly a Christian one — although that share is declining. On the identical time, a lot smaller proportions of People say that faith is “essential” to them, that they belong to a church or that they often attend spiritual companies.
Most People Determine With a Faith
In keeping with a median of all 2021 Gallup polling, about three in 4 People stated they determine with a selected spiritual religion. By far the most important proportion, 69%, determine with a Christian faith, together with 35% who’re Protestant, 22% Catholic and 12% who determine with one other Christian faith or just as a “Christian.”
Seven % determine with a non-Christian faith, together with 2% who’re Jewish, 1% Muslim and 1% Buddhist, amongst others.
Twenty-one % of People stated they don’t have any spiritual desire, and three% didn’t reply the query.
Line graph. Non secular preferences of U.S. adults, 1948 by means of 2021. Within the Forties by means of the early Seventies greater than 90% of People stated recognized with a Christian faith. That steadily declined to 69% in 2021. In the meantime, there was a pointy enhance within the share of People with no faith, which was lower than 5% from by means of the early Seventies, rose to 10% by 2002 and was 21% in 2021.
Fifty years in the past, in 1971, 90% of U.S. adults recognized with a Christian faith, 6% had been non-Christian or one other faith, and 4% didn’t have a spiritual desire. Thus, a lot of the change within the U.S. has been a shift away from Christian religions to no faith in any respect.
Faith ‘Very Necessary’ to About Half of People
Forty-nine % of People say faith is “essential” of their life, with one other 27% saying it’s “pretty necessary” and 25% saying it is “not essential.”
When Gallup first requested this query in 1965, 70% stated faith was essential. That fell to 52% in a 1978 survey — although the proportion ticked as much as close to 60% between 1990 and 2005, earlier than declining up to now 15 years.
Line graph. Significance of faith to U.S. adults, 1965 by means of 2021. Within the 1965, 70% of People stated faith was essential to their lives. After falling to 52% in 1978, the determine rose barely and stayed round 60% till 2005. At the moment, 49% say faith is essential, among the many lowest readings within the development. Over time there was a gentle enhance within the share who say faith will not be essential to them.
Church Attendance Is Declining
Despite the fact that most People have a spiritual desire and say faith is a minimum of pretty necessary to them, a lot smaller proportions often attend spiritual companies.
Requested whether or not they personally had attended church, synagogue, mosque or temple up to now seven days, a median of 29% of U.S. adults in 2021 reported they’d finished so, both in individual or just about. In 2000, 44% had gone to church up to now seven days, and in 1958, 49% had.
Line graph. Self-reported church attendance in previous seven days, 1939 by means of 2021. At its peak within the mid-to-late Nineteen Fifties, 49% of U.S. adults stated they’d attended church up to now seven days. The share usually stayed above 40% till 2012, and has been under that stage since, together with a brand new low of 29% in 2021. The 2021 query, which asks about attending church, synagogue, mosque or temple, additionally accounts for digital attendance in addition to in-person attendance.
The long-term decline in church attendance is linked to a drop in spiritual identification basically — notably for Protestant religions — but in addition to reducing weekly attendance amongst U.S. Catholics.
When describing their conduct extra usually, 22% of People report they attend spiritual companies “each week,” with one other 9% saying they achieve this “virtually each week” and 11% saying they attend about as soon as a month. That leaves the bulk saying they “seldom” (25%) or “by no means” (31%) attend spiritual companies.
Gallup traits on this measure of church attendance date again solely to 1992, at which period 34% of U.S. adults stated they attended church each week.
Steep Decline in U.S. Church Membership
Moreover, lower than half of People, 47%, belong to a proper home of worship. Church membership has been under the bulk stage every of the previous two years. When Gallup first requested the query in 1937, 73% had been members of a church, and as just lately as 1999, 70% had been.
Line graph. U.S. Church Membership. When Gallup first requested about church membership in 1937, 73% of People stated they had been a member of a church. The share stayed close to 70% for a lot of the subsequent few a long time, and was 70% as just lately as 1999. By 2011 the determine had dropped under 60%, and has continued to say no to 47% in every of the previous two years.
The decline in formal church membership has largely been pushed by youthful generations of People. About one in three U.S. younger adults don’t have any spiritual affiliation. Additional, many younger adults who do determine with a faith nonetheless don’t belong to a church. However even older adults who’ve a spiritual desire are much less more likely to belong to a church at this time than up to now.
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Gallup measures spiritual attitudes and behaviors annually as a part of its Gallup Ballot Social Collection.
Discover Gallup questions and traits about faith on Gallup’s Matters A-Z: Faith web page.
For extra articles within the “Quick Reply” sequence, go to Gallup’s The Quick Reply web page.