Apr 1, 2024 - News

Oregonians are among the nation's least religious

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

Oregonians are some of the Americans least likely to go to church.

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

We are up there with Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine — and our Washington cousins — when it comes to staying away from church.

By the numbers: Among Oregon adults, 62% say they never or seldom attend church or religious services, compared with the national average of 49%, per a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey data.

  • 9% of Oregonians attend services one to three times a year, 3% attend four to 11 times per year, and 17% attend 12 or more times.

Zoom out: Vermont (75%), New Hampshire (66%) and Maine (66%) have the highest share of adults who say they never or seldom attend church or religious services.

  • Mississippi (32%), Alabama (36%) and Louisiana (37%) have the lowest shares, meaning they are the most churched states.

The big picture: Many Americans are unhappy about religion's shrinking role in public life, with about half of adults telling Pew both that "religion is losing influence and that this is a bad thing."

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.

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

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Portland.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Portland stories

No stories could be found

Portlandpostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Portland.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more