Americans' membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup's eight-decade trend.
The decline in church membership is primarily a function of the increasing number of Americans who express no religious preference.
Church membership is strongly correlated with age, as 66% of traditionalists -- U.S. adults born before 1946 -- belong to a church, compared with 58% of baby boomers, 50% of those in Generation X and 36% of millennials.
The latest Pew Research Center survey of the religious composition of the United States finds that the religiously unaffiliated share of the public is 6 percentage points higher than it was five years ago and 10 points higher than a decade ago.
Currently, about three-in-ten U.S. adults (29%) are religious “nones” – people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religious identity.
The May 2021 American Perspectives Survey found that Americans report having fewer close friendships than they once did, talking to their friends less often, and relying less on their friends for personal support.
Thirty-six percent of young men say their parents are the first people they reach out to when facing a personal problem. And the number of young men relying on their parents for personal support has more than doubled over the past several decades.
The number of close friendships Americans have appears to have declined considerably over the past several decades. In 1990, less than one-third (27 percent) said they had three or fewer close friends, while about as many (33 percent) reported having 10 or more close friends.
“The group that grew the most as Christianity faltered? The “Don’ts”—people who don’t believe in God, don’t know if there is a God, or don’t care one way or the other—growing from 15% in 2020 to a whopping 22% post-pandemic.”