Apr 1, 2024 - News

Houston is more religious than other U.S. metros

Share of adults who say they never or rarely attend religious services
Data: Household Pulse Survey; Note: Adults who say they never attend or attend less than once a year; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Greater Houston is one of the most religiously devout metros nationwide.

Why it matters: More than three-quarters of Americans say religion's role in public life is shrinking, per a recent Pew Research Center survey — the highest level since the group started tracking that sentiment in 2001.

By the numbers: More than 2.1 million adults in the Houston region — or 39% — say they attend religious services never or less than once a year, per a U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey conducted Feb. 6-March 4.

  • The next largest group of 1.4 million adults (24%) say they attend services at least 12 times per year. About 850,000 adults (15%) say they attend services one to three times per year, and 389,000 adults (7%) attend four to 11 times per year.
  • About 15% of respondents did not report their religious habits in the survey.
Share of adults who say they never or rarely attend religious services
Data: Household Pulse Survey; Note: Adults who say they never attend or attend less than once a year; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Christians make up 73% of Houston's population, according to the Pew Research Center.

  • 20% say they are religiously unaffiliated while 7% practice non-Christian religions, like Judaism and Islam.

The big picture: Texans go to religious services more than people in most other states.

  • Among Texas adults, 40%, or more than 9 million people, say they never or seldom attend church or religious services. That's compared with the national average of 49%.
  • In Dallas, that number is 41%.

Zoom out: Religious service attendance nationally has been dropping for decades, per Gallup, driven largely by "the increase in the percentage of Americans with no religious affiliation — 9% in 2000-2003 versus 21% in 2021-2023."

Friction point: Nearly half of U.S. adults say they feel at least "some" tension between their religious beliefs and mainstream culture, Pew found.

  • That's up from 42% in 2020.
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