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The Exodus of Young People from the Church

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The Exodus of Young People from the Church: A Deep Dive into Age Groups and Statistics


In recent years, there has been a growing concern among religious institutions about the decline in church attendance, particularly among the younger generation. The trend of young people leaving the church is alarming and has significant implications for the future of organized religion. This blog post will take a closer look at the age groups most affected by this shift, the percentage of people leaving, and the current statistics on church growth.

Age Groups Leaving the Church:

According to various studies, the age group most affected by the decline in church attendance is the younger generation, particularly those between the ages of 18 and 29. This age group, commonly referred to as "Millennials" and "Gen Z," is more likely to identify as religiously unaffiliated compared to older generations.

Percentages of Young People Leaving the Church:

A 2021 study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 36% of Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) and 42% of Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012) identify as religiously unaffiliated. This is a significant increase compared to the 17% of Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and 11% of the Silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945) who claim no religious affiliation.

The same study also found that only 27% of Millennials and 21% of Gen Z attend religious services at least once a week, compared to 38% of Baby Boomers and 51% of the Silent Generation. This indicates that not only are younger generations more likely to be religiously unaffiliated, but they are also less likely to participate in religious activities.

Church Growth Statistics:

Despite the decline in church attendance among young people, the overall growth of the church remains a complex issue. In some regions, the number of religiously affiliated people has grown, while in others, it has declined. For example, in Africa and Asia, Christianity has experienced significant growth, with the number of Christians increasing from 381 million in 1970 to more than 1.3 billion in 2021.

However, in the United States and Europe, the decline in church attendance is more pronounced, especially among young people. As the younger generations continue to drift away from organized religion, the number of religiously affiliated individuals in these regions is expected to decrease.


The exodus of young people from the church is a concerning trend that has serious implications for the future of organized religion. As more and more young people identify as religiously unaffiliated and less likely to participate in religious activities, it is essential for religious institutions to address the reasons behind this shift and find ways to engage and connect with the younger generation.

By understanding the age groups most affected and the percentages of people leaving the church, religious institutions can take targeted steps to create more inclusive and relevant faith communities that resonate with the needs and values of today's youth. Only by addressing the root causes of this exodus can the church hope to reverse this trend and foster a new generation of engaged and committed believers.

Jim Barber ok



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