More Americans than ever don’t believe in the religious meaning of Christmas.
A new Gallup poll released Dec. 23 finds the number of Americans who identify as Christian has fallen to the lowest number ever recorded, while those with no religion is at a record high.
Eighteen percent of Americans report they have no religious beliefs, an increase of six percent in just eight years. Only two percent of Americans reported no faith when Gallup first began asking the question in the 1940s and 1950s.
While 74 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian, that’s a drop of six percent over eight years, identical to the increase in those with no faith,
It’s also large drop-off from the 90 percent figures Gallup found when it first began polling the question.
Americans who do claim Christian faith are less likely than ever to belong to a church.
Only 56 percent of Americans report they belong to a church. That’s an increase from the 54 percent reported in 2015, but nowhere close to the 73 percent Gallup found when it first asked the question in 1937.
The results of two other Gallup questions on religion have managed to stay fairly stable over the last 40 years.
Only 36 percent of Americans claim to attend weekly religious services, a number that has varied only slightly in annual polls since the 1970s.
Only 53 percent of Americans say religion plays an important role in their lives, a figure that has varied between 52 and 61 percent since the 1970s.
While there’s been a massive drop in Judeo-Christian faith, they’re not converting to other religions, nor are other religions seeing growth.
The share of Americans belonging to a faith other than Christianity or Judaism, such as Hindu, Buddhism or Islam, stayed the same at only five percent.
Seventy-two percent of Americans in 2016 say religion is losing its influence in daily life. The only other time Gallup found more than 70 percent feel that way was in 1969 and 1970, after the assassinations and inner city riots of 1968.