Pew Center: Americans Pray Less

Pew Research Center
News release

The United States celebrates National Day of Prayer May 5, a day Congress set aside in 1952 for Americans “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” Pew Research Center surveys indicate that the frequency of prayer among Americans has declined in recent years.  Fewer than half of U.S. adults (45%) say they pray on a daily basis, according to the National Public Opinion Reference Survey study conducted in 2021. By contrast, nearly six-in-ten (58%) reported praying daily in the 2007 Religious Landscape Study, as did 55% in the 2014 RLS. Roughly one-third of U.S. adults (32%) now say they seldom or never pray, up from 18% who said this in 2007.

According to the 2021 report, eight-in-ten self-described born-again/evangelical Protestants (79%) say they pray every day, including 76% of White evangelicals and 81% of Black evangelicals. By comparison, far fewer Catholics (51%) and White Protestants who are not born-again/evangelical (44%) say they pray daily. Most religiously unaffiliated Americans, meanwhile, say they seldom or never pray (71%). 

(Although the NPORS includes respondents from many religious backgrounds, including Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and others, the sample did not have enough interviews with members of these religious groups – or with members of smaller Christian groups – to report separately on their prayer frequency.)

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