Less Religious Influence Seen in U.S., But Most Say Society Would Benefit from More Believers

Saturday, June 01, 2013
(photo: David Duprey, AP)

The vast majority of Americans believe religion is losing influence on life in the United States, which could use more people of faith, according to respondents to a new Gallup survey.

 

The poll found 77% feel there is less religious influence today in America. Another 20% said religion is gaining influence.

 

The 77% figure was the most negative evaluation of religion’s impact since 1970.

 

About the same number of Americans (75%) told Gallup that the country would be better off if it were more religious.

 

Overall, Americans have “generally been more likely to say religion is losing rather than increasing its influence in American life,” Frank Newport wrote at Gallup. “In addition to the previous peak in views that religion was losing its influence measured in 1969 and 1970, at least 60% of Americans thought religion was losing its influence in 1991-1994, in 1997 and 1999, in 2003, and from 2007 to the present.”

 

Periods when Americans felt religion was increasing rather than decreasing its influence were in 1957 (the first year the question was asked) as well as 1962, a few times in the 1980s, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in late 2001 and early 2002, and in 2005, Newport wrote.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

Most Americans Say Religion Is Losing Influence in U.S. (by Frank Newport, Gallup)

Poll: America Losing its Religion (by Dan Merica, CNN)

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