Gallup International indicates that 41% of American citizens report they regularly attend religious services, compared to 15% of French citizens, 10% of UK citizens, and 7.5% of Australian citizens.
However, Hadaway, Marler, and Chaves found during the early 1990s that church attendance was only about 20% on an average Sunday in one rural Ohio county, whereas self-reported church attendance was 36%. Many people over-report church attendance because of their self-perception and identity as churchgoing people; this indicates a certain psychological aspect to the overreporting of church attendance. Although questions of church attendance are intended by polling organizations to study Americans' religious behavior, many respondents view them as questions about their identity. This is especially true among those Americans who consider themselves "regular churchgoers." Hadaway et al. have been wary of accusing these over-reporters of dishonesty; as they found in one study, those who over-report do so mainly to maintain perceptions of themselves as "churched" Americans, not because they are afraid to reveal to the interviewer that they are "bad Christians."
In a 2006 online Harris Poll (they stated that the magnitude of errors cannot be estimated due to sampling errors, non-response,etc.; 2,010 U.S. adults were surveyed) found that only 26% of those surveyed attended religious services "every week or more often", 9% went "once or twice a month", 21% went "a few times a year", 3% went "once a year", 22% went "less than once a year", and 18% never attend religious services. An identical survey by Harris in 2003 found that only 26% of those surveyed attended religious services "every week or more often", 11% went "once or twice a month" 19% went "a few times a year", 4% went "once a year", 16% went "less than once a year", and 25% never attend religious services.
The country with the highest rate of church attendance in the world is Nigeria (89%). Nigeria is unusual, as it is very religiously diverse - the population is 50.1% Muslim, 48.2% Christian. Other examples tend to be religiously homogenous.
A survey commissioned by the Época Magazine in 2005 showed that 29% of Brazilians attend church weekly, and indicated that it is lesser than in the United States but higher than in Western Europe and Japan, indeed showing that contrary to the local popular belief, Brazilians of the time could indeed be regarded as a religious people even in practice (though it is ponderable that the growth of the population declarating to be solely irreligious in nationwide censuses grew about 100% between 2000 and 2010, and 200% between 2000 and 2013, from 4% to 12%, and general secularization also grew among the portion of the population that remained religious).
Weekly church attendance statistics
Following attendance statistics are mainly taken from the 2004 Gallup report and do not represent current attendance figures that generally are lower due to ongoing secularisation.
|Country||Attendance (%)||Country||Attendance (%)||Country||Attendance (%)||Country||Attendance (%)|
|Austria||18% ||Belgium||7% ||Canada||20%||Denmark||3% |
|Cyprus||25% ||Czech Republic||11% ||Estonia||4% ||Finland||5% |
|France||12% ||Greece||27% ||Hungary||12% |
|Ireland||46% ||Italy||31% ||Latvia||7% ||Lithuania||14% |
|Malta||75% ||Norway||3% ||Poland||63% ||Portugal||29% |
|Slovakia||33% ||Slovenia||18% ||Spain||21% ||Sweden||5% |
|United Kingdom||12% ||United States||43%|
A study by the European Social Survey conducted in 2008 found these rates of respondents never attending religious service (excluding special occasions):
- <10%: Cyprus, Greece, Poland
- 10-20%: Croatia, Italy, Ukraine
- 20-30%: Turkey (Islam), Portugal
- 30-40%: Estonia, Russia, Germany, Sweden
- 40-50%: Israel (Judaism), Spain, Netherlands
- 50-60%: Belgium, Britain, France
- >60%: Czech Republic
Trends in church attendance
Church attendance in developed countries has gradually declined. Research has attributed this decline to boredom during services, incompatibility of belief systems and lack of motivation. One study published in the Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion, however, argues that at least in America, church attendance since the 1990s has remained stable at 25%. A Gallup poll found that church attendance among Protestants has remained stable at roughly 45% since 1955, while church attendance among Catholics has dropped from 75% to 45%, although it has remained stable since 1995, despite negative stories in the news. Another Gallup poll found a slight increase in church attendance over the past two years; associating this with an aging population. This decline is particularly pronounced in European countries, where it is suggested that the secular culture overrides interest in religion.
Demographics of church attendees
Church attendance remains stronger among older adherents, and more common in women. Some research asserts that younger generations show greater levels of religious adherence than the baby boomers, many of whom brought up their children in a non-religious environment.
The Pew Research Center has linked weekly church attendance with happiness. The Iona Institute found increasing church attendance in Ireland, despite sex-abuse claims within the dominant Catholic Church. The authors suggest the rise is due to the effects of the recession.
Studies in general indicate that there is a higher rate of church attendance among married couples and those with bachelor's degrees than any other group. For instance, in a Pew Research survey from 1996, approximately 34% of high school dropouts went to church on a typical Sunday, while 44% of those with a college degree or higher did. 48% of married individuals attended church on a typical Sunday, compared to 29% of divorced and 31% of never-married individuals. While it is likely that the well-educated and married might over-report their church attendance more often, nevertheless these findings demonstrate that they have maintained a stronger church-going identity than other Americans.
A number of studies have been undertaken to examine the topic of religiosity and intelligence and religiosity and education.
Influence of men on church attendance
The Fertility and Family Survey was commissioned by the Federal Statistical Office (Switzerland) to enable Switzerland to take part in this international project launched by the UNECE Population Activities Unit. The survey was conducted between October 1994 and May 1995 with the results being published in 2000 by the Council of Europe. The results are representative of Switzerland's permanent resident population aged 20-49. The results are presented in the following table. 
Practice of religion according to practice of parents (%)
|Practice of Parents||Practice of Parents||Practice of the children||Practice of the children||Practice of the children||Practice of the children|
In short, if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions, only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular). If a father goes but irregularly to church, regardless of his wife’s devotion, between half and two-thirds of their offspring will attend church regularly or occasionally.
A non-practicing mother with a regular father will see a minimum of two-thirds of her children ending up at church. In contrast, a non-practicing father with a regular mother will see two-thirds of his children not attending church. If his wife is similarly irregular that figure rises to 80 percent.
An American study found similar results on the impact of fathers. It found:
- When both parents attend Sunday school, 72% of the children attend Sunday school when grown.
- When only the father attends Sunday school, 55% of the children attend when grown.
- When only the mother attends Sunday school, 15% of the children attend when grown.
- When neither parent attends Sunday school, only 6% of the children attend when grown.
An unrelated survey in the USA also found fathers to be highly influential in church attendance. It found that if a child is the first person in a household to become a Christian, there is a 3.5% probability everyone else in the household will follow. If the mother is the first to become a Christian, there is a 17% probability everyone else in the household will follow. However, when the father is first, there is a 93% probability everyone else in the household will follow.
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- "One in 10 attends church weekly  publisher = BBC News".
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- "Testing the attendance gap in a conservative church". Sociology of Religion. 1999.
- "Harris Interactive survey". Harrisinteractive.com. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- Época – O brasileiro em números (Portuguese)
- Sennott, Charles M. (2005-05-02). "Catholic Church withers in Europe". The Boston Globe.
- Economist, Aug 9, 2010, based on a European Social Survey.
- "Young Americans more loyal to religion than Boomers". Reuters. 2010-08-06.
- "Eurobarometer 225: Social values, Science & Technology" (PDF). Eurostat. 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-21.
- Werner Haug; Philippe Wanner (January 2000). "IV. The demographic characteristics of linguistic and religious groups in Switzerland". The Demographic Characteristics of National Minorities in Certain European States. Population Studies No. 31. Volume 2. Germany: Council of Europe. p. 154. ISBN 978-92-871-4159-0. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- Low, Robbie (June 2003). "The Truth About Men & Church". Touchstone (The Fellowship of St. James) 16 (5). Retrieved 2013-12-01.
- CHURCH ATTENDANCE: The family, feminism and the declining role of fatherhood By Richard Egan
- Bruce, Robert; Bruce, Debra Fulghum (1996). Becoming Spiritual Soulmates With Your Child. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-8054-6269-2.
- Bob Horner; Ron Ralston; David Sunde (December 1996). The promise keeper at work. Promise Builders Study Series. Focus on the Family Publishing. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-56179-451-5. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- House, Polly (2003-04-03). "Baptist Press: Want your church to grow? Then bring in the men". Baptist Press. Retrieved 2013-11-12.