Post-pandemic attendance at worship services has significantly declined, report shows


by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A new report shows that, while religious identity among US adults has remained “mostly stable” since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Americans who regularly attend worship services has declined significantly, the Washington Times reports. The report was published by the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday.

The AEI report shows that in July 2020, at a critical point in the pandemic, just 13% of Americans attended services in person. However, this number had only risen to 27% by March 2022. Moreover, post-pandemic, 33% of Americans now say they never go to worship services, compared to 25% who said they never went pre-pandemic.

People identifying as conservative were more likely to attend worship services both before and after the pandemic than those identifying as liberal, the AEI report said. However, the number of conservatives who said they never attended services rose from 14% pre-pandemic to 20% post-pandemic.

Women, adults aged 50 and older, and people with a college degree were also more likely to attend services before and after the pandemic, the
AEI report shows. Young adults 18-29 saw the sharpest declines in worship attendance, rising to 43% from 30% before the pandemic.

Analyzing its findings, the AEI said the decline in attendance was mostly seen among those with a “weaker” commitment to participating in worship services: “The increase in Americans who report never attending religious services was largely driven by those who had sporadic attendance patterns before the pandemic,” the AEI noted. Moreover, “the post-pandemic religious decline may portend increasing religious polarization, with more Americans either very religiously active or completely inactive,” the AEI said.

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