Gallup recently released the results of a poll that show the number of Americans who have membership with a church is below 50 percent for the first time since polling began.
Forty-seven percent of Americans in 2020 said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque. That’s a three-point drop since 2018 and it is down from 70 percent in 1999.
Over the last 20 years, Americans who do not identify with any religion has swell from eight percent to 21 percent.
According to Gallup, there’s reason to believe the decline will continue with lower levels of religiosity and church membership among younger generations.
The decline in church membership, then, appears largely tied to population change, with those in older generations who were likely to be church members being replaced in the U.S. adult population with people in younger generations who are less likely to belong. The change has become increasingly apparent in recent decades because millennials and Gen Z are further apart from traditionalists in their church membership rates (about 30 points lower) than baby boomers and Generation X are (eight and 16 points, respectively). Also, each year the younger generations are making up an increasingly larger part of the entire U.S. adult population.