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Gallup Poll Re: The Church has highest rate of attendance


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Gallup polling: Latter-day Saints have the highest rate of weekly church attendance

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A new Gallup survey measuring church attendance shows that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the highest rate of church attendance among religious groups.

Two-thirds of Latter-day Saints attend church weekly or nearly weekly.

This rate has stayed mostly steady over time. In 2000 to 2003, 68% of Latter-day Saints reported regular church attendance. There was a spike to 75% in 2011 to 2013 and data from 2021 to 2023 puts the rate at 67%.

I am happy to hear this.  There are all sorts of benefits that derive from regular church attendance/activity.

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Nearly half of Protestants including non-denominational Christians (44%) said they attended services regularly. 38% of Muslims, 33% of Catholics and 22% of Jews said the same.

The overall rate of church attendance in the U.S. has dropped. When Gallup did a survey two decades ago, 42% of U.S. adults said they attended services regularly. Now that figure is 30%, with 31% of U.S. saying they never attend services.

Among Jewish and Muslim religious groups, there’s actually been a percentage increase in attendance of 7% and 4% over the last two decades, bucking the national trend.

Gallup’s data tracks with what other studies have shown. Data scientist Ryan Burge used data from the European Social Survey and the Cooperative Election Study to determine that Utah, a state with a high percentage of Latter-day Saints, has a 56% church attendance rate. That’s compared to an overall U.S. rate of 25%.

Benefits of going to church

Attending religious services have a positive impact on people’s happiness.

A 2012 study from Duke professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences Harold G. Koenig found that people who are more religious or spiritual “have better mental health and adapt more quickly to health problems” compared to the general population.

Survey data from Pew Research also shows that religious people are more likely to describe themselves as “very happy” compared to their less religious peers. 36% of actively religious U.S. adults describe themselves as “very happy” compared to 25% of adults who are inactively religious and 25% of the unaffiliated.

Digging into the General Social Survey, data scientist Stephen Cranney found what he described as a clear pattern. “Specifically, almost 1 in 3 frequent religious service attenders say they are ‘very happy,’ while among non-attenders it is about 1 in 5,” said Cranney in the Deseret News.

As for why attending religious services contributes to happiness, there are a number of reasons — one appears to be the social connections.

“Controlling for theology, church attendance, general sociability, and other demographic graphic factors, gaining friends at church seems to make you happier and nicer, and losing friends at church seems to have the opposite effects,” Harvard professor of public policy Robert D. Putnam said. “Church friends produce happier, nicer people.”

Cool!

Thanks,

-Smac

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34 minutes ago, pogi said:

I think there may be some considerations potentially skewing the data here.   For example, is this counting members of record, or those who self-identify as "Mormon" only?  Likely the second.   Those who identify as "Mormon" are guaranteed more likely to attend church because of the expectation.   Most other faiths don't have the same high expectations of weekly church attendance, so it is more likely for one to still identify as a Catholic (for example) even if they haven't set foot in a church in years.   "Mormons" who never attend are probably less likely to identify as Mormon.  Perhaps because of the expectations.  It is perhaps easier to not identify as a Mormon, then to identify as a Mormon knowing that you are not meeting expectations as a Mormon - if that makes sense.    It is easier to disengage from identifying with a group then to maintain identity in a group and feel inadequate or judged in some way. 

This from Copilot AI:

 

I was wondering the same thing, but this has to be based on those who are surveyed and self identify as Latter-day Saints, answering the question about how often they attend church (i.e. "How often do you usually attend church, synagogue, mosque or temple -- every week, almost every week, about once a month, seldom or never?")  It can't really come from church membership statistics, because as your source says, "The LDS Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) does not officially release statistics on church activity". 

I think the results would be quite different if the survey also asked, "Are you currently on the membership records of any church, synagogue, mosque or temple"?

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1 hour ago, pogi said:

I think there may be some considerations potentially skewing the data here.   For example, is this counting members of record, or those who self-identify as "Mormon" only?  Likely the second.   Those who identify as "Mormon" are guaranteed more likely to attend church because of the expectation.   Most other faiths don't have the same high expectations of weekly church attendance, so it is more likely for one to still identify as a Catholic (for example) even if they haven't set foot in a church in years.   "Mormons" who never attend are probably less likely to identify as Mormon.  Perhaps because of the expectations.  It is perhaps easier to not identify as a Mormon, then to identify as a Mormon knowing that you are not meeting expectations as a Mormon - if that makes sense.    It is easier to disengage from identifying with a group then to maintain identity in a group and feel inadequate or judged in some way. 

This from Copilot AI:

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The LDS Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) does not officially release statistics on church activity. However, studies and surveys provide some insights:

US Mormons: Approximately 60% of LDS members in the United States are considered less active or inactive12. This means they may not regularly attend church services or actively participate in LDS activities.
Worldwide: On a global scale, it’s estimated that about 70% of LDS members worldwide fall into the less active or inactive category12. This includes individuals who may have drifted away from regular church involvement.
Young Single Adults: Specifically among young single Mormons, the activity rate is approximately 30% in North America and 20% internationally, resulting in an overall worldwide activity rate of about 25%3. Some of those considered inactive may be individuals whom local bishops have never heard of and have no way of contacting.
Keep in mind that these figures are based on surveys and estimates, and individual circumstances can vary widely. The LDS Church continues to focus on ministering to all members, regardless of their level of activity. 🙏

 

 

I just did a little math to see how that would look per ward in the Church.  And I am the first to admit I am not the best at math, so if have this wrong, please correct me.  But here is what I came up with.

The Church has 17,000,000 members

70% of that would be 11,900,000

There are 24,277 wards

That would mean each ward would have about 490 members per week attending.  

Does that sound about right?  Are there really about 490 members attending each ward throughout the Church?

 

If we take the Copilot AI numbers showing only 40% weekly attendance, that would be about 280 members attending weekly.   Seems much closer to me to reality.

40% of 17,000,000 would be 6,800,000 attending

There are 24,277 wards

That would be about 280 members attending weekly in every single ward in the Church.

 

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On the one hand, the use of self-identification does provide some apples-to-apples compariaon. Yeah, it's true that when members of record serve as the denominator, the percent for LDS practitioners would be much lower. That this poll uses instead self-identification as the denominator is not a weakness in the methodology because that self-ID is used for the denominator in all of the polled religions.

On the other hand, a number of religious identities behave almost like ethnic identities in their natal permanence. In such religions, practice is immaterial to the maintenance of the identity, which is instead defined by birth and parentage. Such religious traditions are going to score lower on this metric than on the types of identities that are conscientously chosen. Those latter types of identities will be (I think) largely Protestant and Restorationist.

Edited by Stormin' Mormon
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I think if the church had upwards of 75% of members attending at least monthly we wouldn’t need to hear it from Gallup; it would be celebrated in every general conference. Knowing the Church’s diligent record keeping I’d be shocked if they didn’t have detailed reporting of activity across several demographic dimensions, much less a general activity rate. Just report what you have so members don’t have rely on third parties…and throw in some audited financials too.

Edited by Smiley McGee
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10 hours ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

On the other hand, a number of religious identities behave almost like ethnic identities in their natal permanence. In such religions, practice is immaterial to the maintenance of the identity, which is instead defined by birth and parentage. Such religious traditions are going to score lower on this metric than on the types of identities that are conscientously chosen. Those latter types of identities will be (I think) largely Protestant and Restorationist.

Exactly.  Even though they are using the same denominator, the denominator itself is like comparing apples and oranges in the different cultures/religions, so we are not going to end up with an exact comparison.  Not taking that into account, I think, does give the study a methodological weakness as it can lead to a faulty conclusion/assumption.  

Edited by pogi
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