Americans remain largely a people of faith, even though they may not regularly attend services with a faith community.
According to Gallup’s survey on religion in the nation, 74 percent of Americans identify with a Christian religion, and five percent with a non-Christian faith. Of those participating in the survey, 21 percent claimed to have no religious identity, an increase from the 15 percent who said the same in the 2008 survey.
Gallup observes a shift away from formal religion in America. In its earliest survey on religion in 1937, 73 percent claimed formal membership in a faith community. In the 1980s, that percentage fell to the upper 60 percent range, and ultimately fell to 54 percent – its lowest point – last year in 2015. This year’s survey finds a slight increase to 56 percent who are members of a church, synagogue, or mosque.
While only 36 percent of Americans responded they have attended church within the last seven days, a majority – 53 percent – still say religion is “very important” in their lives.
Nevertheless, Americans perceive that religion is losing its influence in American culture. This year’s survey finds that 72 percent see religion as having less impact on society in the United States.
Finally, Gallup notes that religion remains interconnected with political identification.
“Slightly more than half of Republicans this year are ‘highly religious,’ based on a combination of their self-reported religious service attendance and the importance of religion in their daily life,” reports Gallup. “That compares with a third of independents and Democrats who say the same. By contrast, 20% of Republicans are not religious, compared with 37% of the two other political groups.”
The recent presidential election found that among those who attended religious services regularly, 55 percent voted for Donald Trump and 41 percent voted for Hillary Clinton, while among those who never attend church, 62 percent voted for Clinton and 30 percent for Trump.