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Just 3 in 10 US adults regularly attend religious services

Results of latest Gallup poll show regular church attendance continues to decline, particularly among Catholics
The ornate Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph Catholic church stands in Brooklyn on Sept. 19, 2018, in New York City.

The ornate Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph Catholic church stands in Brooklyn on Sept. 19, 2018, in New York City. (Photo: AFP)

Published: March 28, 2024 05:12 AM GMT
Updated: March 28, 2024 05:19 AM GMT

The pews may be a bit more crowded at Mass this Easter -- but on balance, regular church attendance in the U.S. continues to decline across the board, particularly among Catholics.

Gallup poll results released March 25 show that just three in 10 U.S. adults attend religious services regularly, 21 percent every week and 9 percent almost every week.

A reported 11 percent attend religious services about once a month, while 25 percent seldom and 31 percent never attend.

The survey was based on cell and landline telephone interviews from a number of Gallup polls conducted in 2021-2023 among 32,445 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Topping the list of the most observant adherents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church), with two-thirds saying they attend church weekly or almost weekly.

Forty-four percent of Protestant and nondenominational Christians attend services regularly, followed by 38 percent of Muslims and 33 percent of Catholics.

Gallup said that "majorities of Jewish, Orthodox, Buddhist and Hindu Americans say they seldom or never attend religious services."

Twenty years ago, "an average of 42 percent of U.S. adults attended religious services every week or nearly every week," said Gallup.

The polling firm also observed that "among religious groups, Catholics show one of the larger drops in attendance [over the past two decades], from 45 percent to 33 percent, while there are slightly smaller decreases among Orthodox [9 percentage points] and Hindu followers [8 points]."

Gallup said the general decline in religious service attendance among U.S. residents "is largely driven by the increase in the percentage of Americans with no religious affiliation -- 9 percent in 2000-2003 versus 21 percent in 2021-2023 -- almost all of whom do not attend services regularly."

At the same time, "Muslim and Jewish Americans have shown slight increases in religious service attendance over the past two decades," said Gallup, with the former rising from 34 percent to 38 percent and the latter from 15 percent to 22 percent.

Gallup predicts that "church attendance will likely continue to decline in the future, given younger Americans’ weaker attachments to religion."

Among 18-to 29-year-olds, 35 percent say they have no religious preference or affiliation, with 32 percent identifying themselves as Protestant and just 19 percent as Catholic. Regardless of their affiliation or lack thereof, young adults are "much less likely" as a whole to attend religious services, with 22 percent -- eight points below the national average -- doing so.

Gallup said the trends it observed in this poll "are consistent with other Gallup indicators of religious beliefs and practices, including the importance of religion to Americans and formal membership in churches and other houses of worship."

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