The poll, released on Thursday, shows that only 50 percent of the respondents declared belonging to church, synagogue or mosque in 2018. But this shouldn't be too much of a surprise since memberships have been steadily declining since 1998 — when 70 percent responded they did attend one of the three religious institutions.
This is also in line with the declining number of Americans who subscribe to religious beliefs — between 1998 and 2000, 90 percent of respondents stated that they had a religious affiliation. However, that number slipped to 77 percent between 2016 and 2018.
Interestingly enough, the US has always been a fairly religious society when compared to similarly affluent nations.
In 2010, another Gallup poll found that among the richest developed countries, whose average per-capita income was $25,000 or higher, the US had 65 percent of respondents reporting that religion played an important role in their daily lives, behind only Italy, Greece, Singapore and the Persian Gulf states. The median number of such respondents among rich countries as a whole was 47 percent.
One contributing factor to the declining rates of religious affiliation could be that Catholics are beginning to question their membership in the church in light of the child abuse scandal — a topic that has been under discussion for quite some time. In 2019, 37 percent of US Catholics revealed they had considered leaving the church.
Another reason could be that young adults have no religious preference — those between the ages of 18 and 29 consistently rank, in comparison to other age brackets, highest in number of respondents having no religious affiliation.
Gallup's poll collecting methodology includes surveying through telephone interviews conducted with at least 2,000 US adults,18 years and older across the country. The margin of error is 3 percent.