Less than one third of U.S. adults expressed confidence in church or organized religion, according to a Gallup report published July 5.
The 31% of respondents who said they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in church / organized religion is a six-point drop from 2021.
Among the 2022 respondents, 14% said they have a great deal, 17% quite a lot, 37% some, 29% very little and 2% no confidence in church / organized religion, with 1% not providing an opinion.
When Gallup first polled institutional confidence in 1973, 65% of U.S. adults had a great deal / quite a lot of confidence in church / organized religion, rising to an all-time high of 68% in 1974.
Confidence was in the 60th percentile until 1986 when it dropped to 57%. Other than 1987 (61%), 2001 (60%) and 2002 (45%), confidence remained in the 50th percentile until 2007.
In 2007, confidence dropped to 46%, remaining in the 40th percentile — save for 2009 (52%) — until 2018 when it declined to 38%. Since then, only in 2020 (42%) has it increased out of the 30th percentile.
Republicans (46%) expressed the most confidence in church / organized religion in 2022, followed by Democrats (26%) and Independents (25%). This represents a six-point, one-point and 10-point decline, respectively, from 2021.
Despite the decline, church / organized religion was the fifth most trusted institution among the 16 included in the survey – behind small business, military, police and the medical system.
Only small business (68%) and military (64%) had a majority of U.S. adults say they have a great deal / quite a lot of confidence in these institutions, and only organized labor (28%) did not experience a decline in confidence between the 2021 and 2022 surveys.
The U.S. Congress (7%) had the lowest level of confidence, with television news (11%), big business (14%), the criminal justice system (14%) and newspapers (16%) rounding out the bottom five.
“This year’s poll marks new lows in confidence for all three branches of the federal government – the Supreme Court (25%), the presidency (23%) and Congress,” the report said. “Five other institutions are at their lowest points in at least three decades of measurement, including the church or organized religion (31%), newspapers (16%), the criminal justice system (14%), big business (14%) and the police.”
The average confidence level for all institutions surveyed was 27%, a five-point drop since 2021 and the lowest in polling history.