New data reveals that the construction of new churches in the US has declined to record lows as of June 2021.
According to figures collected by the Census Bureau, construction of religious facilities declined from nine billion in August 2003 to three billion in June 2021, reports Axios. That accounts for a 66 per cent decline in spending. In contrast, the construction of amusement parks, schools, offices, and waste facilities have all seen an average increase of 42 per cent over that same period.
Some attribute this, not to a decline in religion, but a decline in a need for traditional facilities. In many cases, churches often choose alternative locations like warehouses. Others have found that there are an assortment of unoccupied church sites already available for sale. "There's a number of churches on the market that can be bought," Rev. David Schoen of the United Church of Christ Church Building & Loan Fund told Axios. "So there's not a whole lot of new construction."
This corroborates with an assortment of trends. Ministry Watch notes that while many people have observed or attendedonline religious services, most are interested in returning to physical campuses. A Barna Group study found that while only two percent of practitioners had watched an online service in March 2021, that number increased to 53 per cent in June.
A Pew Research study done in July 2020 found that "18% of all adults started watching religious services online for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic, and that nine out of 10 were either "very" satisfied (54 per cent) or "somewhat" satisfied (37 per cent) with the experience."