(ABC4) – Americans are going to church less and less, with church membership dropping below 50% for the first time in eight decades, according to polls from Gallup.

Only 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque in 2020, a figure that is quite dramatic considering that number was 70% in 1999.

In fact, church membership in the U.S. hovered around 70% since all the way back in the 1930s, yet since the turn of the century, that figure is steadily declined.

The implication is clear: Americans are less religiously affiliated than ever before.

In fact, the portion of Americans who say that they do not identify with any religion whatsoever has grown from 8% in 1999 to just over 20% in the last three years.

Then there’s the in-between, those who do identify with a religion, but do not attend church.

And as you might figure, the newer the generation, the less they attend church, or identify with a religion at all. Whereas nearly 60% of baby boomers attend church, that figure is only 36% for millennials.

With this information at hand, the decline in religion is a natural occurrence, as each year the younger generations make up an increasingly larger part of the U.S. adult population.

But the numbers are down, even still, for those in older generations, meaning that trend is across the board. One interesting fact, however – declines in church membership are proportionately smaller among political conservatives, as well as married adults and college graduates.

Membership is highest among those groups, our neighbors in the South and Black adults.

With churchgoers now making up less than half of the American population, and an estimated thousands of churches closing each year, church leaders will find it increasingly challenging to encourage those who do affiliate with a specific faith to become a part of organized religion.