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Washington D.C., Apr 18, 2019 / 03:00 pm (CNA).- Church membership in the United States has dropped considerably in the last two decades, and the number of people who say they have no religion has increased, a new report from Gallup shows.
The decline in “membership” of a specific church or parish community appears especially pronounced among Catholics and young people.
Out - Millennials - People - Religion - %
Nearly one out of three millennials, defined as people born between 1980 and 2000, describe themselves as having no religion. Of the 68% who said they do have a religious faith, only 57% said they belong to a church.
Twenty years ago, when members of “Generation X” were the same age as millennials, 62% --nearly two out of three--were members of a church. Today, 54% of Generation X members belong to a church, and 79% said they have a religious belief of some sort.
Age - Group - Percent - Religion - Believers
Those born in 1945 or earlier were the most religious age group surveyed. Only nine percent said they did not have a religion, and nearly three out of four believers consider themselves to “belong” to a church.
Since 1998-2000, the percentage of Catholics who say they belong to a church has dropped by 13 points. In 1998-2000, 76% of Catholics said they were members of a church. By 2016-2018, this figure had dropped to 63%.
Church - Membership - Catholics - Membership - Canon
Church “membership” is difficult to tabulate among Catholics. Parish membership is primarily defined in canon law according to residence in the territory of a parish.
While many parishes operate registration programs for sacramental or pastoral purposes, “registration” does not actually define or confirm belonging to the parish community, which is conferred de facto by domicile within the territory of the parish.
Catholic - Theology - Church - Membership - Registration
In Catholic theology, Church “membership” is not ordinarily defined by registration or self-identity.
Even without taking this into account, according to the data American Catholics still appear belong...
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