Here is Gallup:
Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999.
U.S. church membership was 73% when Gallup first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century.
- The decline in membership is connected to an increasing number of Americans “who express no religious preference.”
- Who belongs to churches? 66% of traditionalists (born before 1946), 58% of baby boomers, 50% of Gen Xers, and 36% of millennials. All of these categories have seen declines in the last two decades.
- Gallup found declining church membership among people in the following subgroups: men, women, non-hispanic white adults, non-hispanic Black adults, married, unmarried, Republican, Independent, Democrat, conservatives, liberals, moderates, Protestants, Catholics, and in every region of the country
The U.S. remains a religious nation, with more than seven in 10 affiliating with some type of organized religion. However, far fewer, now less than half, have a formal membership with a specific house of worship. While it is possible that part of the decline seen in 2020 was temporary and related to the coronavirus pandemic, continued decline in future decades seems inevitable, given the much lower levels of religiosity and church membership among younger versus older generations of adults.
Churches are only as strong as their membership and are dependent on their members for financial support and service to keep operating. Because it is unlikely that people who do not have a religious preference will become church members, the challenge for church leaders is to encourage those who do affiliate with a specific faith to become formal, and active, church members.
While precise numbers of church closures are elusive, a conservative estimate is that thousands of U.S. churches are closing each year.
Read the entire report here.