In 1999 almost 70% of Americans were members of a church, but now the number is shockingly lower and the trends for the future don’t look good.
At the end of the last century, only 30% of Americans didn’t belong to any church, but now that number is 50%. In 20 years the number of citizens that don’t belong to a religious organization almost doubled.
The growth is incredibly fast! According to Gallup, about 70% of Americans were members of a church for most of the 20th century. Only in the 21st century have we seen the dramatic decline in memberships.
One of the main reasons is that more and more people are identifying as having no religion. In 2000, only 8% didn’t have a religion. Now that number has more than doubled, and is sitting at 19%.
If these numbers and trends continue, then less than a quarter of Americans will be church members by 2050. The number of people who don’t have any religion could be well over 50% by the same time.
Some of the greatest loss in memberships and attendance can be seen in the Catholic Church. With widespread accusations about child sexual abuse within the church and the leadership’s refusal to take ownership, it is unlikely that the Catholic Church is going to be the organization that starts bringing in new church members. It is more likely that the Catholic Church will continue to decline.
In 1955, 75% of Catholics said they went to church every week. Now only 39% of Catholics say they attend mass weekly. The dramatic shift downwards doesn’t appear to be slowing.
When it comes to the non-religious, it is the youngest people that don’t believe in God. 29% of Millennials don’t have a religion, the highest percentage of any generation. Only 14% of Baby Boomers don’t have a religion.
The numbers don’t look good for the religious in America. Relatively speaking, the change is happening incredibly fast and there doesn’t seem to be anything that can slow it down.