- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A higher percentage of Americans now consider religion a very important piece of their lives, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.

Still, despite the increasing reliance on the power of personal prayer, only four in 10 Americans self-reported going to a religious service in the past week.

The number of Americans who report going to church, synagogue or mosque in the past week has hovered around 40 percent since the 1960s, with a high of 44 percent in the early 2000s and a low of 37 percent around 2010. That’s down dramatically from attendance in the mid-1950s when about half of Americans said they had attended a religious service in the past seven days. The number showed little change from last year.

Studies in the past have suggested that Americans may over report their religious service attendance, meaning it percentage may actually be lower, the poll said.

The majority of Americans, however, say religion is an important part of their lives.

About 56 percent say it is “very important,” while 22 percent say it is “fairly important” and another 22 percent say it is “not very important.” This number has remained somewhat consistent, fluctuating between the mid-50’s and low-60’s for more than 20 years and is down only slightly from the 58 percent who said religion played an important role in their lives last year.

The results come from land line and cell phone interviews conducted with adults across the country.  


• Jacqueline Klimas can be reached at jklimas@washingtontimes.com.

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