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U.S. Church Membership Decline
News Bytes 04/22/2019 61 Comments

The percentage of U.S. adults who belong to a church or other religious institution is declining, plunging by 20 percentage points over the past two decades, Now it’s hit a historic low. How will low attendance affect churches?

According to polls, fewer and fewer people are going to church. Sadly, it’s happening despite the Bible’s command: “Let us . . . not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some.” (Hebrews 10:25)

In 1999, polls said 70% of people belonged to a church. The numbers were close to or higher for most of the 20th century. Now only about 50% of people say they go to church.

As far as groups identified in the study, church attendance decline seems to be sharpest among Catholics, Democrats, and Hispanics.

Mark Chaves, a professor of sociology, religion, and divinity at Duke University, says that as recently as the 1970s, it was difficult to predict someone’s political party by how often they went to church. “Now it’s one of the best predictors,” he says. “The correlation between religiosity and being Republican has increased over the years.”

The decline in church membership is also driven by cultural and generational factors, says Nancy Ammerman, a professor of the sociology of religion at Boston University.

“Culturally, we are seeing significant erosion in the trust people have for institutions in general and churches in particular,” she says, adding that there’s “a generational shift as the ‘joiner’ older generation dies off and a generation of non-joiners comes on the scene.”

New poll numbers underscore the generational divide. Among Americans 65 and older, church membership in 2016-2018 averaged 64% percent, compared to 41% among 18-29-year-olds.

“These trends are not just numbers, but play out in the reality that thousands of U.S. churches are closing each year,” Jones adds. “Religious Americans in the future will likely be faced with fewer options for places of worship, and likely less convenient ones, which could accelerate the decline in membership even more.”

How important is church membership? Use scripture to inform and support your statements.

(Jetstreams glow pink as they are illuminated by the setting sun behind a church in Kansas. The percentage of U.S. adults who belong to a church or other religious institution has plunged over the past two decades. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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Most recent comments

That is SO sad!!!

That is SO sad!!!

Karisma S

Yes. We should invite people to come to church and share the gospel more.

This is so sad! I really hope

This is so sad! I really hope more people will see the importance of the gospel in their lives. And I hope that when they see the importance of the gospel they will see the importance of church.

That's sad, especially

That's sad, especially because it seems to be a downward spiral. People don't go to church, making churches shut down, making fewer church options, making people discouraged, making them not go to church. I say we pray about this. Who's with me?

one more thing...

This doesn't have anything to do with the actual article, but the picture for this article is beautiful.

super sad!

Its so sad! If you look back into the 1900's almost every single person usually went, but the came the phones and TVs and such then people think that those things are the "salvation" of sort.........

This is Clinton V

I agree let's pray about it, Lena. p.

There's two problems here.

One most churches don't even teach the bible anymore they are all like nightclubs with black lights and secular music : ( me and my family "church hopped" for about a year. then we stop'd and started watching Jimmy Swaggart on Sundays. That was a good choise! but we rilly missed the good christian fellowship. so we starded church hopping agean and found the church we go to now we are not baptist and we don't believe some of the baptist doctrine. we still watch Jimmy Swaggatr and SBN is on our TV everyday all day long. I am even on one of thee ca-marshals! this is very sad that people are not going to church : ( we need more Evangelists to go out on the street and preach to the people!!! if you have any questions about our "church hopping" pleas tell. dose any one agree with me?

Looking around...

Looking for some random things guess what I found!
Really out of the Blue.........


This is sooo sad! It would be so weird to me, to never go to church. Most of my life is centered on Church, I spend at least 3 days a week there, and all my friends go there too. I agree with you guys! We do need to pray more and send out evangelists to bring people to listen to God's Word!

Elsie (Emelias sister)

This is sad. I'll pray that more people find good churches where they belong!

The church my family goes to currently meets in a movie theater, because we haven't found another building yet. It's pretty cool! There is a Starbucks right next to it so we usually go before or after church. This semester I am helping in the children's ministry. I am currently working in the baby class. I LOVE babies and am pretty good with them.

Did everyone have a good

Did everyone have a good Easter!?! Mine was great but i'm so exhausted and sugar high!


@ emilia g

I help with the nursery in my church but only one family that has babies come only on Sunday mornings and I am in the nursery on Sunday nights only: (
but they are my sundayschoolteachers and they had threr 6 month old baby in the classroom for a few monthes!! (theres only 4 kids in the 6th grad and up class mine)
I had a wonderful Easter!! my church had a easter brekfast and I was the greeter!!! we had a good 78 people maby a bit more! theres normaly about 50 people on a ggod sunday.


I am a member of my church.www.shoaffparkbaptist and a media member to

That's cool! We only have

That's cool! We only have church services on Sunday morning but we have two, one at 9:30 and one at 11:00, my family goes to the 11:00 one, I help in the preschoolers class and my sister works in the nursery. My best friend works in the same class as my so it's fun! I would post my churches link but I can'y find it : /


Hebrews 10:25 - Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Psalm 122:9 - I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

It's very sad that the percentage of church goers has dropped by 20% in the last 20 years. If churches disappear, the Christianity of our country will disappear too. Gathering together is a very important thing, and the three verses I listed above are only a portion of those that encourage it. When we tell people about Jesus we should be sure to encourage them to find a church and help them to do it.
Also, according to Hebrews 10:25, it is even more important for us to meet each other as the day gets closer to the Lords return. The numbers should be increasing, not decreasing!

Has anybody heard about the

Has anybody heard about the hurt Surprise Firefighters?

@Emelia G

No. What are surprise firefighters?

Elsie (Emelias sister)

Surprise is a city in AZ. You should look it up it was on the news.
Nadia, Here is the link to my curch,
I don't know the exact number of people who go to our church but both services including kids is around 200 I think.

Four Peoria Firefighters were

Four Peoria Firefighters were critically injured in an explosion in Surprise, my dad is a Firefighter and the men were his really good friends, the one who is the most injured has seven kids and they are all struggling. Two of the men are atheist's and it's really sad so please pray for all of the men and their families.

@ Emilia G

oh...that's so sad: ( I will pray for them. did you all here about that horrid bombing in SRI LANKA! thousands of people died. they perplexity attacked Christians worshiping on Easter!

To Above

Yes it's so sad!

@ Emilia G

is your dad an active servers?

To Above

Umm... I don't really know what that means. He is a firefighter and he still works all the time. He is so not old enough to retire.

to above

she meant to ask was he still serving as a fire fighter
P.S. i will pray for the fire fighters.

to above

she meant to ask was he still serving as a fire fighter
P.S. i will pray for the fire fighters.



Yes he has been serving for 7

Yes he has been serving for 7 years. Thanks for the prayers.

@Emelia G

I will pray for the firefighters
P.S. my uncle is a firefighter

I have an uncle who is a

I have an uncle who is a firefighter too! And I have one who is a police man.

@ emilia g

sorry i meant is he still serving as a firefighter?

To Above

Yes he is!

this is sooo sad

has anyone heard of the Crossing church???

Lily ( Thia's sister)I

@ Livia V no I have not what is it?

Lily ( Thia's sister)I

BTW this is the link to my church. I do not know how many people it has but it is pretty small. Whoa that is a long link

Lily ( Thia's sister)I

another thing about my church. if you click on ministries and then JAM and go all the way down the person that it says to contact if you want to go to JAM is my mom!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ps very random but does any one have an American Girl?

Ways to help

I feel like one way to help that is to make home churches. We used to have a home church, and even though only about 7 families went, it was a really good way to just worship, connect with God, and even the teens got to lead worship and sermons. I feel like it would also be more convenient for people.

Hers a thing about my church.

If you click on the link go to children services class click on it the girl in the wight dress is me! I look so horribul in a the picture! I look much better that that but they got my ugly side! XD!!!

Lily ( Thia's sister)

@ Nadia I can not find where it says child services could you give more information? as where to find it I mean


Let me look. This might take a few min.

Lily ( Thia's sister)

No prob I can wait but please try to hurry. I have to ve off in five min I might be able to stay on a little late though

OK it won't let me on the wed page.

You click on the link the put your mouse on the tab hat seas ministryes the click for children then the picture should be of a class room and the big girl in the wight dress is me. I am older than that now and I look better and they got my bad side.

Lily ( Thia's sister)

Okay so the one with the glasses and long brown hair? and yes I agree that even though I do not know what you originally look like that is a pretty bad picture Ps here is another church related article please read and comment

To above

Ya sorry. That's me alright and I Rilly look solo very ugly in the picture but I look nice in real life.

Lily ( Thia's sister)

Also I know that you type fast but just for clarification wight is spelled white not wight

Ya sorry

Hetes a another pic this he is worse though I am a mess and my face is dirty my fair is just ugg and I am solo yuch!!! That is a old pic too and I do not look like that now I am very kept and clean. I didn't know they were two ng a picture ether!!

Lily ( Thia's sister)

Aw that puppy is so cute !!!!!!!!!!! ok got to go now



Nadia A

For some reason it won't let me click on your churches link. It keeps saying there's an error : /


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