Poll: More Americans to Attend Religious Service This Christmas After ‘Suppressed Attendance’ Last Year

Visitors light candles in St. Patrick's Cathedral, a favorite Christmas spot for tourists, December 4, 2001 in New York City. New York is in full holiday swing as the city attempts to recover from the September 11th World Trade Center attacks. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images

More Americans plan to attend a religious services this Christmas after attendance waned during the coronavirus pandemic last year, a Rasmussen poll released on Friday found.

This year, 44 percent of American adults plan on attending a religious service, up from 39 percent last year when the pandemic and government induced shutdowns “suppressed attendance.”  Forty-three percent of Americans said they will not be attending a service, and 13 percent said they are unsure.

However, the percentage of religious service attendees is not as high at 2019. Before the pandemic, 49 percent of those polled planned on attending a religious service during the holidays

Fifty-nine percent think Christmas is one of the United States’ most important holidays, which is up from 55 percent last year. Only 7 percent think Christmas is one of the least important, and 28 percent rank it “somewhere in between.”

“These findings are consistent with surveys for years. The Fourth of July ranks second as the holiday most important to Americans, followed by Memorial Day and Thanksgiving,” according to the poll, which was conducted with 1,000 U.S. American Adults on December 19-20. The margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

By demographic, black people are “significantly more likely” (56 percent) than white people (42 percent) or other minorities (43 percent) to say they are planning on attending a service. Black people are more likely to rank Christmas as one of the country’s most important holidays. Men are also more likely than women to view Christmas as one of the most important holidays, 62 percent to 56 percent.

By age, younger adults are less likely than older adults to rate Christmas highly.

“Less than half (49 percent) of adults under 40 consider Christmas one of America’s most important holidays, while 68 percent of those age 65 or older think Christmas is among the most important holidays,” according to the poll.

Broken down by political affiliation, Republicans favor Christmas more than Democrats 75 percent to 51 percent, and more than unaffiliated voters at 54 percent. More Republicans also plan to attend a religious service than Democrats, 56 percent to 38 percent. Forty-one percent of unaffiliated voters said they plan to attend a service this year.

Married Americans and people with children are more likely to rank Christmas highly and to attend religious services than those who are unmarried and do not have children.  Out of Americans who think Christmas is one of the most important holidays, 77 percent said they expect to attend a religious service, the poll found.

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