In the United States, a third of parishioners have been missing since the Covid crisis

One “Accelerator” It hinges on an underlying trend: the growing secularization of American society over the past twenty years. This is a key observation made on Thursday, January 5. According to a new study by two American research centers (1)., one of which is affiliated with the University of Chicago (Illinois). The Covid-19 pandemic, since it began in 2019, has revealed a significant drop — 33% of the 9,425 American Protestant, Catholic or Jewish believers surveyed — in physical participation in religious services.

Respondents already answered the same questions about their religious identity and participation in worship services in 2018 and early 2020: only 25% said they had stopped attending altogether. The report notes that the suspension mainly affects groups that have started leaving their places of worship. Health crisis.

Unsurprisingly, this is worrying Americans A growing proportion of those with liberal leanings (46%), never-married (44%) and young adults under 30 (43%) “no” (“Without Religion”).

Major deviations

Conversely, conservative Christians (20%), those over 65 (23%) or married (28%) are less likely to say they never go to services, so attendance has decreased in less important places. worship In 2022, one in four Americans (24%) said they still visit the office once a week or almost regularly. To get 32% of believers going there would need to add 8% of “monthly” trainees. “usually or occasionally”A slight decrease from the 36% recorded in 2020.

Notably, the survey highlights major differences according to respondents’ religious affiliation. While the group in the surveyed sample reflects the proportions of the main American religious denominations, Mormons (72%) and white evangelicals (53%) are still – as before the pandemic – among the most committed worshippers. Other groups also saw smaller declines in regular attendance, including black Protestants (36%), white Catholics (30%) and Hispanics (23%).

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Among these last categories, the largest number of people who declare that they will no longer go to services are concerned, and nearly half of white Catholics (46%), Hispanics (47%) and Jews (54%) worry about it. Black Protestants attended “usually” Church (36%) and those who attend it “small” (35%) are still roughly equal in proportion.

On the other hand, this study did not focus on the case of Muslims (1% of the US population) or believers of other minority religions. In addition, it only captures “face-to-face” participation, while online worship programs attract many Internet users—which may distort the results somewhat.

How else can this phenomenon of “physical” stasis be explained? Daniel A., a researcher at the Center for the Study of American Life, one of the two organizations behind the report. Cox is a “Generation Divide”A similar, and a movement observed today, for example in the French Catholic landscape “Political Polarization” broader American society to explain the practice’s decline. Finally, the report recalls that parishes with more conservative sentiments reopen their doors earlier than those with more liberal affiliations, which could help explain the more significant return of the first category of believers after the pandemic.

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