Less than half of Americans are members of houses of worship

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 11, 2017 file photo, the sun sets on a Baptist church in Georgia.  For the first time since the late 1930s, fewer than half of Americans say they belong to a church, synagogue or mosque, according to a new report from Gallup, Tuesday, March 30, 2021.  (AP Photo/David Goldman)
FILE - In this Tuesday, April 11, 2017 file photo, the sun sets on a Baptist church in Georgia. For the first time since the late 1930s, fewer than half of Americans say they belong to a church, synagogue or mosque, according to a new report from Gallup, Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (AP Photo/David Goldman) (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

(RNS) — Ask Americans if they believe in God and most will say yes. But a growing number have lost faith in organized religion.

For the first time since the late 1930s, fewer than half of Americans say they belong to a church, synagogue or mosque, according to a new report from Gallup.

Forty-seven percent of Americans now say they belong to a house of worship, down from 70% in the mid-1990s and 50% in 2019. The decline is part of a continued drop in membership over the past 20 years, according to Gallup data.

The polling giant has been measuring church membership since 1937 when nearly three-quarters of the population (73%) reported membership in a house of worship. For much of that time, membership remained at about 70% but began to decline after 1999. By the late 2000s, membership had dropped to about 62% and has continued to fall.

Pollsters at Gallup looked at survey data from more than 6,000 Americans and compared data from 2018 to 2020 with two other time frames: 2008 to 2020 and 1998 to 2000.

——

This content is written and produced by Religion News Service and distributed by The Associated Press. RNS and AP partner on some religion news content. RNS is solely responsible for this story.

___