There’s a Growing Class Divide in Church Attendance

Daniel A. Cox December 15, 2022

Black and white image of well dressed white married couple with young boy and girl exit church in 1950s.

Religious participation is falling much more rapidly among those without a college degree

There are few institutions better positioned to transform individual lives and reshape communities than America’s churches and places of worship. In Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, Robert Putnam documents the unique contributions made by places of worship. He writes:

Religious communities in America are important service providers for young people and the poor. Weekly churchgoers are two to three times more likely to volunteer to help the poor and young people than are nonchurchgoers, holding other things constant, and are much more likely to contribute financially to those causes. This religious edge appears for volunteering and giving through secular organizations, as well as for volunteering and giving through religious organizations. And the crucial ingredient seems not to be theology but rather involvement in a religious congregation.

Robert Putnam

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis

Yet increasingly, these benefits are not spread evenly across American society. As religious participation in the US continues to fall, some Americans are much more affected by its absence.

For much, if not most, of our history, religious congregations could be found in every corner of the United States, crossing barriers of class, race, and geography. As Putnam notes, “Religious engagement has traditionally been less class-biased than virtually any other sort of community or extracurricular activity.” But that’s no longer the case.

Continue Reading on American Storylines

Survey Reports

Generation Z and the Transformation of American Adolescence Cover Image

Daniel A. Cox, Kelsey Eyre Hammond, Kyle Gray
November 9, 2023

Generation Z and the Transformation of American Adolescence: How Gen Z’s Formative Experiences Shape Its Politics, Priorities, and Future

This report explores the foundational differences between American generations through their formative adolescent experiences.

Young man sitting in a dark room before a wall featuring various conspiracy theory-related items illuminated by a computer screen

Daniel A. Cox, M. Anthony Mills, Ian R. Banks, Kelsey Eyre Hammond, Kyle Gray
September 28, 2023

America’s Crisis of Confidence: Rising Mistrust, Conspiracies, and Vaccine Hesitancy After COVID-19

America is experiencing a crosscutting crisis of expertise and scientific distrust accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic that poses significant challenges to democratic debate and public decision-making

A cartoon showing a vibrant office from the ceiling view.

Daniel A. Cox, Brent Orrell, Kyle Gray, Jessie Wall
September 14, 2023

The Social Workplace: Social Capital, Human Dignity, and Work in America, Volume II

The Social Workplace, Volume II examines Americans’ expectations and experiences surrounding work, the workplace, and key job-related priorities such as pay and interpersonal connections.

An empty debate stage featuring red and blue podiums below a stage light face an audience of nearly-empty seats.

Daniel A. Cox, Ruy Teixeira
June 29, 2023

The 2024 Presidential Election: Evolving Political Coalitions and Familiar Partisan Divisions

Ahead of the 2024 presidential election, the AEI Survey Center on American Life conducted a national survey of Americans that explored a wide range of political attitudes, current voting preferences, and perceptions of the political parties.