US

POLL: American Church Membership Hits Record Lows

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg General Assignment Reporter
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The number of Americans who are members of a house of worship dropped below 50% for the first time since the question was polled in 1937.

Only 47% of Americans are members of a house of worship, according to a Gallup poll released Monday. The poll had a margin of error of 2% and surveyed 6,117 Americans between 2018 and 2020 about their religious attendance.

Membership in houses of worship broke down among generational lines, Gallup found.

66% of adults born before 1946 are members of a church, synagogue, or mosque, compared to 58% of baby boomers, which Gallup defines as adults born between 1946 and 1964. 50% of adults born between 1965 and 1980, Generation X, belong to a house of worship, while only 36% of millennials (1981-1996) report membership. Generation Z, the youngest cohort of adults, was not polled.

Some studies have shown that religion can provide material benefits to regular service attendees. Religious participation is associated with higher life expectancy, stronger immune systems and lower blood pressure. (RELATED: Doctor Brittany Busse Explains How Weekly Religious Attendance Boosts Mental Health—And How To Fight The Season Blues)

Despite the drop in attendance, Americans were still twice as likely as Canadians to say that religion is “very important in their lives,” according to a 2018 Pew study. In that same study, fewer than 20% of citizens of France, Britain and Germany said religion was very important to them.