Do You Believe?
RELIGIOUS PARTICIPATION IN AMERICA REMAINS STAGNANT …
Do you believe? Or as they say in the South, “are you religious?”
Most don’t. Or aren’t. And if you believe the pollsters, they haven’t been for some time – at least not in connection with any organized faith.
According to Gallup’s most recent data, religious participation in America (i.e. the number of Americans who say they attended a “church, synagogue or mosque” within the prior week) stood at 39 percent in 2013 – down from 42 percent in 2009.
This metric – which most researchers believe to be slightly overstated by respondents - has nonetheless remained remarkable constant over the past half century. After topping out at 49 percent in 1955 (and again in 1958), religious participation plunged to 40 percent by the early 1970s.
Since then it hasn’t climbed above 44 percent (or dropped below 37 percent).
Take a look …
(Click to enlarge)
Overall, 41 percent of Americans described themselves as “very religious” according to Gallup – meaning they regularly attend worship services and identify religion as an important part of their daily lives. Twenty-nine percent defined themselves as “nonreligious,” while another 29 percent identified themselves as “moderately religious.”
Not surprisingly broad discrepancies exist between states. In Mississippi, 61 percent of residents described themselves as “very religious,” compared to only 22 percent in Vermont. Early-voting South Carolina ranked No. 5 among the “most religious” states – with 54 percent of residents describing themselves as “very religious.”
Vermont’s neighbor – early-voting New Hampshire – was the second-least religious state in America at 24 percent, which should make for a delicate balancing act when prospective 2016 presidential candidates start courting votes.
Where are you on the subject of religion? Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our comments section below …