The State of Christianity in 2023
America was founded as a religious refuge, and many still see it that way.
While it was once considered a Christian nation, it’s looking more like a hodgepodge of Christianity, different religions, and the religiously unaffiliated.
Looking at current church statistics, it may feel like doom and gloom.
But, as Christians, we have hope! We know this is just our temporary home and the Church is not going anywhere.
In fact, even amid declining numbers, there are many positive things happening.
For example, while overall church attendance has dropped in America, it is booming in other places in the world.
As more immigrants begin to call America home, they bring their Christian faith with them.
According to CNN, “The world’s largest megachurch, for example, is not in the US. It’s in South Korea. The Yoido Full Gospel Church has a weekly attendance of about 600,000 members. […] The US has more immigrants than any other country. People from Latin America and Asia now make up the overwhelming majority of immigrants to the US, and many are bringing their religious fervor with them. […] Those who predict that the church in America will collapse often overlook how the migration of Global South Christians to America will revitalize the country’s religious landscape.”
Keep this in mind as you learn about the state of Christianity in American in 2023.
The Number of Americans Who Identify as Christian
Pew Research Center reports, “As recently as the early 1990s, about 90% of U.S. adults identified as Christians. But today, about two-thirds of adults are Christians.”
The report also found, “In 2020, Christians accounted for about 64% of the U.S. population, including children. Meanwhile, those who are not affiliated with a religion has grown from 16% in 2007 to 30% in 2020, according to the research. All other religions, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, accounted for about 6% in 2020.”
The Number of American Attending Church
In the 1990’s, 43% of Christians attended church weekly and it went up in the early 2000’s to around fifty percent of Americans attending church weekly.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed church attendance.
Barna reports, “36 percent fewer Americans attended church weekly in 2020 than in 1993.”
Now, a few years post-COVID, attendance is even lower.
According to Gallup:
- 20% of Americans attend church every week
- 41% of Americans are in monthly church attendance or more
- 57% of Americans are seldom or never in religious service attendance
However, the number of millennials attending church regularly has increased significantly
(from 21% in 2019 to 39% today) since COVID.
Additionally, the pandemic shifted how people attend church: in-person or virtually.
Barna reports, “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of church attendance happened exclusively in person. Today, that’s only true for about half of churched adults. In fact, one in five (20%) is still primarily attending online, and one in four (26%) is mixing online and in-person worship.”
It’s worth noting that many of those who watch online church services are people who do not typically attend church.
The Number of Americans Reading the Bible
While church attendance has declined, the number of believers reading their Bible has remained steady.
Barna reports, “Despite some ups and downs over the years, nearly the same percent of U.S. adults today report reading their Bible weekly as did in 1993 (2020: 35% vs. 1993: 34%).”
The Number of Americans Praying
According to Barna, “Large majorities of Americans still say that prayer is something that they do on a weekly basis. From 1996 to 2010, there was no statistical difference in the percentage of Americans who prayed, with the number hovering around 83 percent. Over the last 10 years, however, there has still been a steady, if slow, decline, with just under seven in 10 Americans (69%) affirming they pray weekly.”
The Number of Americans Giving
More churches are embracing online giving, which has led to more giving overall.
According to a recent study by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research at Hartford International University for Religion and Peace, “the more a church emphasized online and electronic giving, the greater their per capita giving rose. This is also true with the 2023 survey. Congregations without online giving have a per capita annual giving of $1,809, those with ‘a little use’ see giving rise to $2,052, ‘some use’ jumps to $2,388 and ‘a lot of use’ results in per capita giving of $2,428 – almost a 30% increase over those not using it.”
The Number of People in American Churches
The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the size of America’s church congregations.
Churches report they are around 85% of pre-pandemic attendance.
Church Trac reports, “Before the pandemic, two-thirds of all churches had an attendance of around 125. Now 2 in 3 churches are at less than 100 in attendance, with nearly 1 in 3 churches below 50.”
The Number of Americans Telling Others About Their Belief
According to Lifeway Research, “Only 3 in 10 unchurched Americans (29%) say a Christian has ever shared with them one-on-one how a person becomes a Christian, according to Lifeway Research. Only slightly more say a Christian has told them about the benefits of participating in a local church (33%) or the benefits of becoming a Christian (35%).”