Poll: US church attendance lower than pre-pandemic era

Poll: US church attendance lower than pre-pandemic era

(NewsNation) — Is the U.S. losing its religion? A new Gallup poll says church attendance in America has decreased in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

In the four years before the pandemic, 34% of U.S. adults surveyed by Gallup said they had attended church, synagogue, mosque or temple in the past week. From 2020 to the present, the average has been around 30%.

Within the two largest faith groups in the U.S., church attendance is down four points among Protestants and seven points among Catholics.

Taking COVID-19 restrictions into consideration, Gallup analyzed how many people have worshipped virtually instead of in person. Even after taking remote attendance into account, church attendance figures were still lower than years past.

“It is not clear if the pandemic is the cause of the reduced attendance or if the decline is a continuation of trends that were already in motion,” Gallup said. “However, the temporary closure of churches and ongoing COVID-19 avoidance activities did get many Americans out of the habit of attending religious services weekly.”

Following the pandemic, churchgoing has reversed from mostly virtual back to in-person. In April 2020, Gallup says 31% of U.S. respondents said they attended religious services, with 27% doing so virtually and 4% in person. In the May 2023 survey, Gallup reports that 5% of people said they attend virtual services.

Recent figures have contributed to an apparent long-term decline in religious participation and church membership.

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