Church membership in the U.S. has been falling for decades, and the COVID-19 pandemic could have had something to do with it. But now – for the first time since Gallup began taking its poll more than eight decades ago – less than half of America's population belongs to a church.
The secularization of America
Gallup reported in late March that for the first time since it began taking surveys on the subject some 80 years ago, U.S. church membership has dropped below the majority – indicating that the secularization of American society has succeeded in turning more than half of society away from God.
"Americans' membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup's eight-decade trend," empty tomb, inc., revealed from a Gallup poll published March 29.
Since the turn of the century, nearly a quarter of Americans (23%) dropped off from faith-based membership, according to the poll.
"In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque – down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999," Gallup reported.
Another survey titled "In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace," published by Pew Research Center in October 2019, also showed a flagging Christian faith across America.
When the faith-based organization, empty tomb, inc., looked at separate data that it collected from a wide range of church denominations for its "The State of Church Giving" series, a similar trend was discovered, as well.
"A group of 34 Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church included 45% of [the] U.S. population in 1968 and 33% in 2018," empty tomb divulged.
Tithing and other forms of contributions to church were also found to be waning over the decades – notably over the past half century.
"[G]iving as a percent of income was down 31% on a per-member basis, from 3.02% in 1968 to 2.05% in 2018 – the latest year collected," empty tomb discovered.
Reversing the trend?
A proposed solution to end the downward spiral was given in the 30th edition of empty tomb's book released last December, "The State of Church Giving through 2018: What If Jesus Returns in 2025?" which calls for "a goal large enough to attract people's attention, time and money."
"One goal offered by empty tomb is to help, in Jesus' name, decrease the rate of deaths among children under five around the world," the Christian group shared. "In spite of declining trends, church distribution channels are often still present where need is greatest, [and] empty tomb's Mission Match encourages churches to design mission projects to help reach this goal by 2025."