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Catholics show lowest attendance of any US faith in survey

Mostly empty church

Stephen Bridger | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 04/11/24

It was found that only about 1 in 4 US Catholic adults attend Mass weekly, with a solid half of them seldem or never visiting a church at all.

While Easter drew some of the largest crowds to church since prior to the pandemic years, a new survey from Gallup has found a significant decline in the number of US adults who attend religious services weekly. The data, accumulated through some 32,000 surveys, found fewer adults attend weekly church services of nearly all faiths than they have in the last two decades. 

On a list of the most prominent religions in the US, Catholics landed at 4th – the middle of the pack – with just 23% (~1/4) of respondents reporting attending Mass weekly. The figure rises to 33% (1/3) when adding those who attend “almost every week,” but it was eclipsed by the solid 50% who reported seldom or never darkening a church’s doors. It should be noted that Catholics were the second most questioned group (6,934 participants) in this survey, following Protestant/Christians who made up about half of the sample size, at 15,147.

The religious group that saw the highest weekly service attendance was the Mormon Church, which was the only surveyed group from which more than half of respondents (54%) reported attending weekly. Furthermore, this figure swells to 67% (2/3) when accounting for those who attend “almost every week,” and Mormons were also the least likely to report “never attending,” at just 12%. 

Protestants/Christians were the next most likely group to attend church weekly, at a solid 30% (3/10), which rose to 44% when accounting for those who attend “almost every week.” Islam/Muslims ranked third, with 28% attending weekly, up to 38% when adding the “almost every week” crowd. 

When placed against data taken in the last two decades, it was observed that nearly every religious group has seen a decline in weekly attendance. Catholics were shown to have the greatest change in weekly attendance, with a fall from 45% in the 2000s to just 33% in the 2020s, a diminishment of 12%. While it is the exact same change as the national average, it is also the widest gap seen in any of the most popular faiths in the US. 

The only religious groups that saw an uptick in average weekly service attendance were Judaisim/Jewish and Islam/Muslim, showing increases of 7% and 4% respectively. Meanwhile Orthodox adherents’ weekly attendance fell by 9%, Hinduism/Hindu fell by 8%, and even the Mormons saw a loss of 1% in two decades. 

Read the full report at Gallup.

CatholicismSpiritual LifeUnited States
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