Los 40 USA
NewslettersSign in to commentAPP
spainSPAINchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA

RELIGION

Why have millions of Americans stopped going to church?

Millions of Americans have stopped going to church over the past few decades, with many churches now being put up for sale. Why the decline in attendance?

Update:
Millions of Americans have stopped going to church over the past few decades, with many churches now being put up for sale. Why the decline in attendance?
JIM VONDRUSKAREUTERS

Church attendance has been on the decline in the United States for the past few decades. According to The Atlantic, 40 million Americans have stopped going to religious services in the past 25 years.

With this drastic drop in attendance, thousands of churches have been closing each year. According to the latest data available, 4,500 Protestant churches were shut down in 2019, while around 3,000 were started. The number of closures is expected to have been augmented by the covid-19 pandemic, which broke the habit of people attending church.

Why have millions of Americans stopped going to church?

The decline in church attendance in the United States is a complex phenomenon influenced by a variety of social, cultural, and demographic factors. Here are some of the reasons for the decline.

Changing social norms

Attitudes towards religion and religious institutions have evolved over time. Social norms around topics such as gender roles, sexuality, and family structures have shifted, and some traditional religious teachings might not align with these changing norms, leading some individuals to distance themselves from organized religion.

Generational shifts

Younger generations, such as Millennials and Generation Z, are often found to be less religiously affiliated compared to older generations. They might be less likely to attend religious services due to different priorities, beliefs, and ways of engaging with spirituality.

Studies by Lifeway Research indicate that a number of younger Americans do not feel like their life choices are being accepted by the church, while others who stopped attending said they disagreed with their church’s stance on certain social and political issues.

READ ALSO: States that will increase their minimum wage in 2024

READ ALSO: This is how the new USCIS appointment system works

Individualism

Modern American society places a strong emphasis on individualism and personal autonomy. Some people might prefer to explore spirituality in their own way rather than adhering to established religious institutions.

Digital and technological changes

The rise of the internet and digital communication has changed the way people access information, connect with communities, and even engage in spiritual practices. Some individuals might find virtual connections and online resources sufficient for their spiritual needs. This became more pronounced after the onset of the pandemic, when churchgoers realized they did not need to physically attend services.

Higher education

Higher education levels are often associated with lower religiosity. Exposure to scientific, historical, and philosophical perspectives can sometimes lead individuals to question or re-evaluate their religious beliefs.

Role of religion declining among Americans

The overall decline in church attendance reflects the diminishing role that religion plays in the lives of Americans. According to a report from the Public Religion Research Institute, only 16% of those surveyed said that the religion is the most important aspect of their lives, compared to 20% a decade ago. According to PRRI, the numbers show that “Americans are becoming increasingly likely to become religiously unaffiliated.”