Number of people going to church is at an all time low

5:45 PM, Jan 17, 2014   |    comments
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A chart shows the age group with the most people not affiliated with a religion is 30 and under in 2014. University Professor Ryan Cragun says since 1900, the number of people unaffiliated with a church is at an all-time high.

 

Tampa, Florida-- Some may call it a startling trend, others a sign of the times: more people than ever before are closing the chapter when it comes to religion, forcing many churches to close their doors. 

Some religious groups have had to look past the traditional service and change their ways.

Every Sunday, just a few rows from the back, Evelyn Keller has a spot in the pew.

"I started in kindergarten," says Keller.

It's a tradition that's been taking place for nearly 80 years.

"You went to church like you were called for dinner," she explains. But Keller knows it's a tradition where the chord has gone flat.

"It's smaller. All denominations have gone down."

According to a report from Pew Forum, Keller's right.

"If you go back to 1990, seven percent of Americans said they had no religion. From 1990-2012, that increased to 20 percent," says University of Tampa Professor Ryan Cragun.

Professor Cragun says since 1900, the number of people unaffiliated with a church is at an all-time high.

"It's almost tripled and that's unprecedented. We've never seen growth like that among the non-religions," says Cragun.

The largest unreligious group: adults under 30, where they say one out of three have no religion.

High School Junior Mackenzie Wise isn't shocked by the report.

"Most people don't come, don't hear about it," she says.

The startling drop in numbers is forcing churches to make changes.

"We try to create a church where kids are the ones dragging their parents to make changes," says Matt Moore, Youth Pastor at Bayside Community Church.

At Bayside Community Church, they've replaced pews with chairs, bibles with an app that allows you to enjoy the service right from your living room and instead of a choir, there's a band.

"It's like a party," says Wise.

A party Professor Cragun says may be hot for now.

"We estimate 600,000 people leave the church every year," says Cragun.

According to Professor Cragun, he says those unaffiliated with a religion tend to be more educated, more accepting, and more educated on religion.

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