Fewer than 50 percent of Americans indicate religion is very important

Fewer than 50 percent of Americans indicate religion is very important

The percentage of Americans who say religion is "very important" in their lives is less than 50 percent, a survey from Gallup finds.

Based on telephone interviews conducted in April and December with more than two thousand adults age 18 and older, the survey found that 48 percent of Americans say religion is "very important" in their lives, the lowest, by a percentage point, on record. Gallup first asked Americans to rate the importance of religion in their lives in 1952, when 75 percent indicated it was very important. By 1978, the number had dropped to 52 percent. The survey also found that 33 percent of Americans feel the influence of religion in society is increasing (a fourteen-point rise from 2019). Those who identify with a particular religion, as well as those who indicated religion is very important to them and Americans who self-identify as conservative or moderate, were more likely than those who consider religion to be fairly or not very important and liberal Americans to believe its influence is increasing.

The survey also found that Americans' attendance at religious services and membership in a church, synagogue, or mosque declined slightly in 2020 from 2019 (30 percent vs 34 percent). While the decline could be explained by the impact of the pandemic on Americans' ability to physically attend houses of worship, Gallup's question in the most recent survey included the option "either in-person or remotely."

"Religiosity Largely Unaffected by Events of 2020 in U.S.." Gallup press release 03/21/2021.