The Great Decline of religion in 60 years

Great Decline in religion graph

Religiosity index shows the changes in religious activity in the United States.

Religiosity in the United States is in the midst of what might be called ‘The Great Decline.’ Previous declines in religion pale in comparison. Over the past fifteen years, the drop in religiosity has been twice as great as the decline of the 1960s and 1970s.

How do we track this massive change in American religion? We start with information from rigorous, scientific surveys on worship service attendance, membership in congregations, prayer, and feelings toward religion. We then use a computer algorithm to track over 400 survey results over the past 60 years. The result is one measure that charts changes to religiosity through the years. (You can see all the details here).

The graph of this index tells the story of the rise and fall of religious activity. During the post-war, baby-booming 1950s, there was a revival of religion. Indeed, some at the time considered it a third great awakening. Then came the societal changes of the 1960s, which included a questioning of religious institutions. The resulting decline in religion stopped by the end of the 1970s, when religiosity remained steady. Over the past fifteen years, however, religion has once again declined. But this decline is much sharper than the decline of 1960s and 1970s. Church attendance and prayer is less frequent. The number of people with no religion is growing. Fewer people say that religion is an important part of their lives. All measures point to the same drop in religion: If the 1950s were another Great Awakening, this is the Great Decline.

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15 Responses to The Great Decline of religion in 60 years

  1. Troy Day June 18, 2018 at 7:37 am #

    Donald Phillips Religiosity in the United States is in the midst of what might be called ‘The Great Decline.’ Previous declines in religion pale in comparison. Over the past fifteen years, the drop in religiosity has been twice as great as the decline of the 1960s and 1970s.

    • Donald Phillips June 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm #

      Troy Day I am sorry that you and your church are going down the tubes. Our church is growing because we obey the Great Commission.

    • Troy Day June 19, 2018 at 1:33 pm #

      Which one is your church Donald Phillips We did 24toDouble recently and growth is exploding as much as dedication. Great experience You’ve been to the ends of the world yet?

  2. Michael Todd Combs June 18, 2018 at 8:36 pm #

    If the question is why do churches go broke, it’s because we don’t teach New Testament giving.

  3. Troy Day June 18, 2018 at 8:50 pm #

    Q: The Great Decline of religion in 60 years
    Religiosity index shows the changes in religious activity in the United States.

    Religiosity in the United States is in the midst of what might be called ‘The Great Decline.’ Previous declines in religion pale in comparison. Over the past fifteen years, the drop in religiosity has been twice

  4. Troy Day June 19, 2018 at 1:35 pm #

    hey Donald Phillips The Great Commissions is much more than just going from your coffee shop church to the closest stake house on Sunday. When was the last time you’ve been outside of your state for ministry? Hey David Griffin how is growth in the mormon church since Romney lost the last great elections?

  5. Tim Taylor June 19, 2018 at 8:11 pm #

    Yes like for xample give from the heart not by force of givin tithes tat was for levites mal 3:10 pastors are robbing god ..pastors u received free give free the word of god shouldnt b 4sale work like everyone else theres honesty in workin 4 yors..faith in god to suplly n provide not faith on the tithes to survive n provide god jesus will keep his church open no need to rob the people and you big n elegant astrodome churches be ashamed with all the homelessness n poverty tats were yo money should go

  6. Tim Taylor June 19, 2018 at 8:16 pm #

    Just like sandals church they on there 3rd gigantic church seems more like niteclubs witall they lights all over buyin people off feeding them by bringin the things off the street into church its a church not a niteclub dont give in to the things of the world remain n church font lure people to church tat only makes hipocrytes not christians

  7. Troy Day June 19, 2018 at 8:44 pm #

    Tim Taylor the post is about the Great Decline of religion in 60 years

  8. Daniel J Hesse June 19, 2018 at 9:17 pm #

    Is it possible the decline is due to a simple cultural shift? Does the church have a specific culture or do we yield to other values?

  9. Troy Day June 19, 2018 at 9:29 pm #

    Daniel J Hesse that would make the church subject to culture and hardly the stronghold against the gates of hell (or hades Ricky Grimsley) that Christ meant it to be

  10. Ricky Grimsley June 19, 2018 at 9:38 pm #

    How can the gates of anything prevail anyway?

  11. Troy Day June 19, 2018 at 9:39 pm #

    In Biblical time the leadership sat in the gates – see the book of Ruth

  12. Ricky Grimsley June 19, 2018 at 9:44 pm #

    So you are saying it like a euphemism for the leadership of hell?

  13. Troy Day June 19, 2018 at 9:47 pm #

    Sure seems that Jesus used it that way, doesnt it?

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