Confidence among U.S. adults in the church or organized religion declined in 2021, along with all but one of the other institutions surveyed by Gallup.
The report, published July 14, is an annual survey that asks respondents to share the level of confidence they have in several institutions.
In 2020, the church or organized religion saw a six-point increase (to 42%) of adults who said they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence.
This year, there was a five-point dip (to 37%) in those answering, “a great deal” (19%) or “quite a lot” (18%).
By comparison, 34% of respondents in the 2021 survey say they have “some” confidence, with 26% saying “very little,” 3% “none” and 1% “no opinion.”
This ranks organized religion sixth in the list of institutions in terms of confidence, one point behind the presidency (38%) and one point ahead of the Supreme Court (36%).
The five-point decline in confidence for organized religion tied with small businesses and banks for the third highest percentage drop from 2020 to 2021, behind only public schools (down nine points to 32%) and the medical system (down seven points to 44%).
However, every institution surveyed saw a decline this year, save for police, which experienced a five-point drop (to 48%) from 2019 to 2020, before rising three points to 51% in 2021.
The top three institutions in terms of public confidence this year are small businesses (70% “a great deal” or “quite a lot”), the military (69%) and the police (51%). Every other institution had less than half of respondents expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence.
The bottom three institutions in terms of public confidence are Congress (12% “a great deal” or “quite a lot”), television news (16%) and big business (18%).
“When the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in 2020, it caused great upheaval in most aspects of Americans’ lives. It also resulted in an overall uptick in average confidence across 14 institutions, driven largely by sharp one-year increases – among the largest Gallup has measured – for the U.S. medical system and public schools,” the report said. “Now, with the worst of the pandemic seemingly over and the intensity of the racial justice protests subsiding, Americans’ confidence has retreated to more typical levels seen in recent years.”
The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3%.