Since when has the USA been so religious

In the past 25 years, all indicators of attachment to religion in the United States have declined. While “Faith in God” remains relatively stable (around 90 percent), the number of church members decreases by 20 percentage points (70 to 50 percent) and trust in the churches is reduced to a historic low from 59 to 38 percent . The details.

From the archives of its national surveys, the Gallup Institute has published an analysis that deals with church membership since 1938 and in particular 1998-2000 and 2016-2018: “U.S. Church Membership Down Sharply in Past Two Decades ”.

The other data, mainly from the early 1990s (1992/1996) up to 2016/2018, illustrate different but parallel developments in the religious landscape in the USA:

  • Believe in God? Slight decrease at a high level (96 to 89 percent, minus 7 percentage points);
  • Does religion provide answers to current questions? (62 to 49 percent, minus 13);
  • Importance of Religion? (87 to 73 percent, minus 14);
  • Religious? (90 to 76 percent, minus 14);
  • Regular attendance at church services? (58 to 43 percent; minus 15);
  • Organized Religion Membership? (70 to 50 percent, minus 20);
  • Trust in churches? (59 to 38 percent, minus 21).

Believe in God?

The question of “Belief in God or a universal spirit” is so general that there is room for all kinds of beliefs. Approval is correspondingly high, which signals a “commons sense” - which, however, does not seem surprising in a country whose banknotes have “In god we trust” printed on it.

Religious preferences?

In the religious preferencies of self-description since 1948, the proportion of Protestants has decreased from around 70 percent to below 40 percent, the proportion of Catholics remains stable at more than twenty but less than thirty percent, while the proportion of those who do not name a religion rises from 2 increases to 20 percent. Overall, the proportion of believers has decreased from 95 to 76 percent of the population, which has been particularly evident since the turn of the millennium.

Trust in the Churches as an Organized Religion?

If the two categories “great trust” and “fairly trust” are summarized as trust, the proportion fell from around two thirds (65 percent) to 38 percent between 1973 and 2018. This loss of trust is mainly due to the decline in those who express “great trust”.

Importance of Religion?

Since the early 1990s, the importance of religion (“very important” and “fairly important”) has decreased from 87 percent to 73 percent. Correspondingly, the proportion of those “for whom religion is“ not very important ”has doubled from 12 to 26 percent.

Does religion provide answers to current questions?

The answer to this question, to which almost two thirds (62 percent) agreed in 1994, is increasingly losing support, which in 2018 was less than half (49 percent).

Member of an organized religion?

Whereas in 1992 70 percent of those questioned declared that they were a member of a church congregation or a synagogue, in 2018 it was only 50 percent.

With regard to the changes in church membership (minus 17 percentage points) in individual population groups, it can be seen that especially the younger (-22), the Hispanic (-23) and those who identify with the Democratic Party (-23) have an above-average influence on this trend.

Regular attendance at church services?

If one considers those who attend church services at least once a month as regular church goers and active church members, their share has fallen from 58 percent of the population to 43 percent since 1992, which corresponds to the decrease in church membership. This decrease is mainly caused by the decrease in those who say they go to church “every week”.

When asked who currently go to church only rarely or not at all, although they went to church regularly as adolescents, the two most important reasons are shown to be greater individualization, preferring to pray alone, and the rejection of one organized religion.