“Nones,” or religiously unaffiliated people, now represent 20 percent of the U.S. population, even as 73 percent of the nation still self-identifies as Christian, according to Barna Group’s 2016 State of the Church report.
“These huge proportions belie the much smaller number of Americans who regularly practice their faith,” Barna explained, as only 31 percent are practicing Christians (attending church at least monthly and affirming their faith as very important in their lives).
A majority (55 percent) of U.S. adults are “churched” – active churchgoers who attended services in the past six months – with 45 percent being “unchurched” – no longer attending regularly or never did so.
Regular church attendees are primarily found in small- to medium-size churches.
Congregations of 100 or fewer are the place of worship for 46 percent of U.S. adults, while 37 percent attend churches of 101 to 499.
By comparison, larger congregations of 500 to 999 are home to 9 percent of “churched” adults and mega-churches (1,000+) are attended by 8 percent.
When it comes to charitable giving, Christians are more generous than atheists and agnostics. “Almost all practicing Christians (94 percent) have given to a church, compared to one-quarter (23 percent) of atheists or agnostics,” the report stated.
Overall, “Americans give to churches more than any nonprofit organization,” Barna explained. “More than half of Americans (54 percent) have given money to a church in the past year – half the number that have given to a nonprofit other than a church (22 percent).”
The full report is available here.