Debunked by Data: Mainstream Narrative Draws False Conclusions About Lowered Church Attendance

April 02, 2024 Debunked by Data: Mainstream Narrative Draws False Conclusions About Lowered Church Attendance   image

Key Takeaways

  • Mainstream media narratives suggest that religious belief – and particularly Christianity – is decreasing in America. However, MIG Reports data reveals a different picture.
  • COVID lockdowns imposed on churches, mosques, and synagogues do show an overall decline in church attendance.
  • However, attendance is not representative of the overall environment, as certain demographics also indicate increased adherence to Christian faith.

Our Methodology


All Voters

Sample Size


Geographical Breakdown


Time Period

30 Days

MIG Reports leverages EyesOver technology, employing Advanced AI for precise analysis. This ensures unparalleled precision, setting a new standard. Find out more about the unique data pull for this article.

Prior to COVID lockdowns, religion played a significant role in the lives of many Americans. For Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, and others, religious beliefs or lack thereof often shape worldview, political leanings, and day-to-day decisions. The intersection of religion and politics, particularly for evangelical Christians, was a contentious issue pre-2020. Those who supported then-president Donald Trump were often criticized. This was especially true when his actions and attitudes seemed antithetical to evangelical beliefs.

COVID lockdowns brought about a shift in religious sentiment among Americans, however. With churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship closing their doors by mandate, many turned to online platforms to practice their faith. This period of isolation and uncertainty also led to an increase in spiritual seeking for some, while others questioned their beliefs.

Lockdowns combined with the subsequent economic crisis brought about a shift in focus. Discussions around job creation, economic recovery, and the role of government in these areas became more prominent. Some religious individuals linked their faith to these civic issues, citing the importance of caring for God's creation – including the economy and the environment. 

Predictive Analysis Vs Mainstream Narrative

The future of religious people in America will likely continue to be influenced by political and social issues. The intersection of faith and politics, particularly for evangelical Christians, will likely remain a contentious issue. However, it is possible the results of COVID may be a shift in priorities, with more focus on social justice, environmental stewardship, and economic equality.

Factors that shape religious sentiment for Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, and others will likely remain diverse and complex. These may include personal experiences, societal trends, political climate, and interpretations of religious texts. The rise of online religious practice may also continue, altering the way Americans engage with their faith.

The impact of lockdowns on religion in America has been significant. It seems to have led to permanent changes in religious practice and sentiment. The future of religion in America is somewhat uncertain and will likely be influenced by many factors.

Mainstream media narratives suggest that Christianity, which has historically been the dominant religion in America, is waning. News reports point to decreased church attendance as an indicator of archaic ways of life receding into the past.

Mainstream reporting suggests demographic shifts such as increasing racial and ethnic diversity in America likely leads to increased religious pluralism. There is also a suggestion that secularization will continue to increase, particularly among younger generations who are less likely to identify with traditional religious institutions.

However, external data indicates this narrative does not tell the whole story and may actually be cynical. Some studies show an increase in younger generations attending church services.

  • Non-white Millennials drive the largest increase in church attendance.
  • 45% of non-white Millennials are attending church weekly, compared to 35% of white Millennials.

Percent Attending Church Weekly

Political dynamics may also shape the future of religion in America. The intertwining of religion and politics, particularly on the Christian right, could further polarize religious communities. Conservative Christians often find themselves at odds with the rise of social justice movements which prompt many faith communities to engage in activism and advocacy.

Technological advancements, from online worship services to religious apps, could transform how people practice their faith. These technologies may make religion more accessible to some. However, they also seem to be raising new questions about the nature of religious community and worship.

In terms of religious sentiment, various faiths continue to hold different views on morality, social justice, and the role of religion in public life. These differences are often shaped by theological beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and personal experiences.

For example, Christians may continue to grapple with issues like LGBTQ rights and racial justice, with different denominations and individuals having differing views. Jews and Muslims may continue to face challenges related to religious discrimination and prejudice, which could shape their religious sentiments and practices. Atheists, meanwhile, may continue to advocate for secularism and the removal of religion from government practices. 

Demographics and Mass Attendance

While Protestant numbers have decreased, Catholicism remains steady and may be trending upward. Furthermore, a possible resurgence of Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) attendees seems to be leading the potential increase. A survey conducted from 2019 to 2021 of TLM parishes across the country identified:

  • 2019 average attendance across 59 parishes was 145.
  • 2020 average attendance across 61 parishes was 163.
  • January 2021 average attendance across 69 parishes was 174.
  • June 2021 average attendance across 75 parishes was 196.

In short, the rate of TLM attendance increased by 34% and the number of parishes offering TLM increased by 27%.

“So, at a time when general Mass attendance was decreasing,” the report pointed out, “attendance at the TLM was dramatically increasing." Church attendance also differs among generations. However, this may be an indicator of continued increases in faith since Millennials are less likely than Boomers to stop attending church all together. They are, however, more likely to attend multiple churches.

The economy also seems to be an influencing factor, likely delaying family creation, as well as causing increased housing prices and other general costs of living. These hardships may be encouraging Americans back to faith.

Given difficult economic conditions and societal disillusionment being exacerbated by COVID lockdowns, searching for meaning is a plausible counterreaction to recent societal turmoil for many Americans. Despite the mainstream media's insistence to the contrary and negative portrayal of religiosity, many Americans are clinging to their faith.

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