Seven in 10 Christians Plan To Attend Easter Services

by George Gallup Jr.

Over one fourth of those who seldom go to church say will attend on Easter

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ – If the remarkably high percentage of Christians who say they plan to attend Easter services this Sunday actually do so, churches across America can expect huge crowds.

Seven in 10 Americans (70%) who give their religious preference as either Protestant or Catholic say they intend to go to church on Easter Day. This represents a marked increase over reported weekly attendance – from 48% to 72% in the current survey for Protestants, and from 47% to 66% for Catholics.

Easter services will draw some of those who do not usually go to church in a typical week. Fully one-fourth (26%) of persons who indicate that they seldom or never go to church say they will attend church on Easter Sunday. Additionally, one-third of those who believe that religion is old-fashioned and out of date plan to go to Easter services.

In addition, larger than usual proportions of young adults and persons with college or advanced degrees say they plan to take part in Easter church services.

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

 

Yes

No

Uncertain

%

%

%

Total (Protestants and Catholics)

70

23

5

Protestants only

72

23

5

Catholics only

66

31

4

Total (All adults)

64

31

5

Weekly churchgoing

94

5

1

Nearly weekly

85

11

4

Seldom/never

26

67

4

Religion can answer today's problems

78

17

5

Old-fashioned

34

64

2

Religion very important in life

84

12

1

Fairly important

49

44

7

Not very important

11

87

2

18-29 years

60

36

4

30-49 years

63

31

6

50 and older

66

30

4

Post-graduates

66

32

2

College graduate only

67

31

2

High school or less

63

31

6

Some college

63

32

5

Male

60

35

5

Female

67

29

4

White

62

33

5

Non-white

70

28

2

East

65

32

3

Midwest

68

27

5

South

64

30

6

West

59

37

4

Born-again

80

15

5

Not born-again

50

46

4

Although the level of attendance on Sunday may not match intentions, the high percentage who say they plan to attend is a clear indication of the central importance Christians give to the festival of Easter, which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Eight in 10 (78%) who say they will go to Easter services hold the conviction that religion can answer all or most of today's problems.

Post- Sept. 11 Response?

It is difficult to say whether or not the high percentage of persons who plan to attend church on Easter is a reflection of the public's mood in this post Sept. 11 period.

Measurements of religiosity shortly following the Sept. 11 attacks showed an increase in churchgoing and in the percentage who said religion was very important in their lives. Subsequent measurements, however, showed these percentages going back to pre-September 11 levels.

A March 1991 survey, taken just a few weeks after the beginning of the Gulf War, showed 68% of Americans of all faiths (as opposed to 64% of all faiths today) saying they planned to attend Easter services. Then, as now, measurements of religiosity showed an initial hike in percentages but then returned to normal levels.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,009 adults, 18 years and older, conducted March 18-20, 2002. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 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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