Aging in the Pews 

December 22, 2022

An area chart showing percentage of Americans who report attending religious services at least once a week by age from the years 1998 to 2021.

That churches and places of worship have struggled to attract and retain young worshipers is no secret. But new research finds that the most active congregants have gotten far older over the past two decades. In 1998, nearly six in ten (58 percent) Americans who attended religious services at least once week were under the age of 50. By 2021, regular worshipers were far older—only 43 percent were under the age of 50. The majority were at least 50 years old and one in three were retirement age (65 years old or older). The growing generational divide in America’s churches and places of worships presents all sorts of challenges to churches, not least their capacity to navigate to sensitive cultural questions, such as sexuality and sexual identity. It also risks putting these churches further out of step with the general public on issues, like same-sex marriage

Survey Reports

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