The percentage of American adults who regularly attended worship services — whether at a church, synagogue, or mosque — has plummeted over the last 20 years, according to a new survey from Gallup.
Two decades ago, in 1999, church membership was at 70 percent, and close to that number or higher between 1937 and 1976.
Three-quarters of Americans — 77 percent — said they identify with some form of organized religion, down from 90 percent between 1998 and 2000.
None of those numbers should be surprising. Since the turn of the century, according to Gallup, the number of U.S. adults with no religious affiliation has jumped from 8 percent to 19 percent.
Perhaps most interesting was the breakdown between political parties. Among Democrats, church membership fell from 71 percent to 48 percent, compared to the shift of 77 percent to 69 percent among Republicans.
University of Notre Dame political science professor David Campbell attributed the partisan divide to “the allergic reaction many Americans have to the mixture of religion and conservative politics.”
“Increasingly,” he added, “Americans associate religion with the Republican Party — and if they are not Republicans themselves, they turn away from religion.”
The Gallup survey’s results were based on aggregated data gathered from around 2,000 American adults. The poll has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.