FPL Poll Spot

Home > Polls > State of Mainline Protestant Churches

State of Mainline Protestant Churches

Sponsor: The Barna Group
Released: 2009-12

View full poll

Over the course of the past decade, the number of adults who attend a mainline church on any given weekend has remained relatively stable, ranging from 89 to 100. The current median is 99 adults. One reason why that average has remained steady has been the population growth of the United States, with the mainline churches attracting just enough newcomers to maintain attendance levels that are similar to the years when the nation’s population was considerably smaller.

The current attendance figure is lower than the norm during the heyday of the mainline bodies. Demographics suggest that the mainline churches may be on the precipice of a period of decline unless remedial steps are taken. For instance, in the past decade there has been a 22% drop in the percentage of adults attending mainline congregations who have children under the age of 18 living in their home. Also, the proportion of single adults has risen, now representing 39% of all adult attenders. That has been driven higher by a rise in the number of divorced and widowed adherents.