Six in 10 Americans to Attend Church This Easter

by Frank Newport

Eighty-four percent of Americans identify with a Christian religion

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- It is safe to predict that America's churches will be more crowded than usual this Sunday as Christians celebrate the Easter holiday. A recent Gallup Poll found that slightly more than 6 in 10 Americans plan on attending church on Easter.

Do you plan on attending church services this coming Easter Sunday, or not?

Yes

No

No opinion

%

%

%

2005 Mar 21-23

62

37

1

 

 

 

2002 Mar 18-20

64

31

5

1991 Mar 21

68

29

3

Although this self-reported Easter church attendance figure is down from similar measures obtained in the weeks before Easter in 2002 and 1991, it is still significantly higher than normal attendance. Gallup data collected in 2004 indicate that 44% of Americans reported having attended church in the last seven days, and that the same percentage said, on average, they attend church at least once a week or almost every week.

Who is most likely to be in the pews on Easter Sunday? Women, older Americans, and those who don't live in the West.

  • Women are significantly more likely to be attending services than are men, by a 69% to 55% margin.

  • Sixty-nine percent of Americans aged 65 and older say they will be attending services, compared with 59% of those aged 18 to 29.

  • Almost three-quarters of women aged 50 and older will be attending church on Easter.

  • Attendance will be lowest in the West, where only 52% will be attending Easter services, while at least 6 in 10 Americans in the Midwest, East, and South will be in the pews.

  • There is little difference in projected Easter service attendance between Protestants and Catholics.

Americans' Religious Preferences

Although the United States is a diverse nation in terms of its citizens' specific religious affiliations, it is predominantly a Christian nation. Gallup's 2004 compilation of religion data shows that more than 8 in 10 Americans identify with a type of Christian religion: 24% Catholic, 50% Protestant, and 10% who can be classified as identifying with some other form of Christianity.

Gallup's 2004 data also indicate that 9% of Americans say they have no religious preference, and another 2% do not answer the question. That leaves just about 5% of all adult Americans who have a religious preference that is not Christian-related.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,001 adults, aged 18 and older, conducted March 21-23, 2005. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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