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Today, Children Raised in America Attend Church Much Less Often Than Their Parents and Grandparents - Baptist News Global

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Children raised in America today go to church much less often than their parents and grandparents, largely because their parents stopped going as adults.

Gallup reports that more than a third of American adults have stopped regularly attending religious services in their lifetime, and a majority of Americans (58%) now rarely or never attend church.

While changes in church attendance patterns have taken decades, the current generational shift from parents to children represents a significant slowdown, according to Gallup data.

While only 31% of adults say Attending a church, synagogue, mosque or temple every week or almost every week today, more than double that number (67%) say they go there regularly as they grow older. Similar two-thirds told Gallup that, to their knowledge, their parents dated weekly or almost weekly when they were young.

A Gallup press release summarizes: “The changes in church attendance have occurred among the current generation of parents and children.”

As for non-participants, this group is divided into 25% who say they rarely attend and 33% who say they never attend.

Only 9% of Americans say they attend almost every week.

“The results suggest the experience of adults as children was similar to that of their parents, but adults today have very different religious habits,” the Gallup statement noted. “Of adults who have children under the age of 18, 31% attend regularly, which gives an indication of how often today’s children attend – far less than children of the previous two generations. »

These results correlate with polls from Gallup and other organizations on religious identification and church membership. For example, in 2022, an average of 21% of American adults told Gallup that they had no religious preference, up from 8% in 2000. And for the first time in modern history, more Americans have declared not to be members of a community of faith. than are.

However, today’s parents who attended church as children are more likely than others to bring their children to church today.

Gallup found 38% of American adults who say they used to go every week or almost every week whereas the kids now say they go every week or almost every week now. But many more in this group say they rarely (24%) or never (26%) attend church services today.

The current weekly attendance of 38% among former frequent churchgoers is higher than the current regular attendance of 23% for those who attended church once or twice a month as children, and 16% for those who attended rarely or never in their childhood.

The latest data from Gallup provides an interesting layer to previous research by Ryan Burge of Eastern Illinois University and one of the leading authorities on religious no’s. He followed the shift between Christian religious traditions as today’s adults settle into new religious practices that are sometimes different from where they were raised.

For example, he found:

  • Nearly 85% of people raised evangelical remained Protestant as adults, but only 74% remain evangelical. For evangelicals who stay in church but leave evangelicalism, the most common place to land is a main church.
  • About two-thirds (66%) 0% of those who grew up in mainstream Protestantism remained in the mainline as adults, and those who leave mainstream churches are most likely to end up in an evangelical church, even in any church.
  • Three-quarters of Catholics remained Catholic, while almost 10% became Protestant.
  • About 32% of people who raised a “none” adopt a Christian tradition as adults, but 55% remain none.

Burge’s data is for religious identification, not church attendance. One thing that hasn’t changed is that there are more Americans who claim religious identification than they actually attend religious services.

Related Articles:

Pandemic opens door to distant notion of church membership

Less than half of Americans now claim formal congregational membership

Younger and older Americans aren’t returning to church as much as middle-aged people

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