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U.S. Adults Have Little Confidence in Organized Religion

Only 36% of U.S. adults express “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in organized religion, according to a Gallup report published July 8.

Continuing a multiyear decline, this is an all-time low in the poll’s history that saw nearly 70% of respondents express high confidence in organized religion in the mid-1970s.

In 1973 and 1985, the U.S. public expressed more confidence in organized religion than any other institution surveyed.

“The downward trend in confidence in organized religion is partly attributable to the rising share of Americans who identify as having no religion – a group that has little confidence in organized religion, and now comprises about one-fifth of the U.S. population,” Gallup noted. “But confidence in organized religion has also declined among those who are religious, including Catholics and Protestants.”

Only 36% of Catholics and 48% of Protestants expressed high confidence in organized religion in 2019.

By contrast, trust in the U.S. military remains strong with 73% expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence, followed by small businesses (68%) and police (53%).

All other institutions surveyed saw high confidence levels under 40%, with the U.S. presidency and the U.S. Supreme Court both seeing 38% of respondents say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence.

The U.S. presidency was the most polarizing institution in the 2019 survey, ranking fourth in “great deal / quite a lot” responses, while having the third highest percentage of “very little / none” responses (44%), trailing only the U.S. Congress (52%) and television news (48%).

Television news (18%) and Congress (11%) were the only institutions with less than 20% of respondents affirming high confidence.

The full report is available here.