The number of U.S. adults affirming religion’s efficacy in addressing societal problems seems to have stabilized in recent years, according to a recent Gallup survey.
Despite an overall downward trend since the survey’s inception, a slim majority (55 percent) still believes “religion can answer some or all of society’s problems” – up slightly from an all-time low of 51 percent in 2015.
When polling began in 1957, 82 percent of adults held this view. Those affirming this position declined to 62 percent by 1972 and then remained relatively steady until another downward trend began around 2012.
The number of adults asserting that “religion is old-fashioned and out of date” has steadily increased over the same period – moving from 7 percent in 1957 to 34 percent in 2017.
Church attendance and religious affiliation both influenced responses.
People frequenting worship services weekly were more than twice as likely to affirm religion’s role in addressing societal problems (89 percent) as those who rarely attend (33 percent).
Protestants (and other Christian groups) were more likely (71 percent) than Catholics (60 percent) to say religion can address society’s challenges, while those not formally affiliating with any religious tradition were least likely (9 percent).
“Americans’ beliefs about religion are evolving,” Gallup summarized. “Religious fervor may be declining, but … Americans still assert religion and topics relating to religion as having relevance in 21st-century life.”
The full survey results are available here.