Poll: Church Attendance Increasing in U.S.

Church attendance increased slightly in 2010, according to the Gallup organization.

Gallup has recorded small upticks in churchgoing over the past two years. The latest poll found that 43.1 percent of Americans reported weekly or almost weekly church attendance, up from 42.1 percent in 2008.

Though a small increase, Gallup noted that it is "statistically significant," considering the data is based on more than 800,000 interviews collected between February 2008 and May 2010.

Respondents were asked to report on how often they attend church, synagogue, or mosque.

Thirty-five percent said they attend at least once a week and eight percent said they go almost every week. Meanwhile, 11 percent said they only go once a month, 25 percent listed "seldom" church attendance and 20 percent said they never attend.

The most dedicated churchgoers, according to the Gallup organization, are conservatives, non-hispanic blacks, and Republicans. Those least likely to attend church at least once a week or almost every week are liberals, Asians, and those aged 18 to 29 years.

Overall, church attendance is increasing in America and Gallup does not believe it is tied to economic woes.

"The increase comes as Americans' economic confidence has also risen, suggesting that, instead of church attendance rising when economic times get bad, as some theorize, the opposite pattern may be occurring," the research organization stated.

A 2009 Gallup poll had discovered no evident change in church attendance during the economic recession, particularly between 2008 and 2009. Though many Americans were negative about the economy, there were also no significant changes in the percentages of Americans who said religion is important to them.

Gallup noted that the rising church attendance could be a result of demographics. Americans who are 65 years old and older are more likely to attend church than those who are younger. Baby boomers, who are now entering their 60s, are beginning to enter the age range that traditionally has been associated with higher religious service participation. And if baby boomers do in fact attend church more frequently as they age, Gallup expects church attendance to increase steadily in the years ahead.

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