CH URCH attendance by American Catholics declined by 11 per cent. between 1958 and 1969, from 74 to 63 per cent., according to a Gallup Poll survey published in Princeton, New Jersey. Protestant attendance was down 6 per cent., from 43 to 37 per cent.
During a typical week last year. 42 per cent. of the nation's adults attended a church. This was down one point from 1968. and a new low level. It compared with 49 per cent. in 1958.
The drop in attendance was mainly arno,ng -young adults of all faiths. The percentage of people aged 21 to 29 who went to church in a typical week last year was 15 points lower than' for that age group in 1958. Attendance Over the same period was down 6 points in the 30 to 49 group and 4 points by people over 50.
Catholics under 30 attending church in a typical week last year numbered 51 per cent.. while the figure was 70 per cent. for people over 30. Comparable figures for Protestants were 32 per cent. and 39 per cent. Churches have traditionally counted on winning back large numbers of "defectors" when they reach their thirties, settle down and raise families. Them survey findings confirm that a high proportion do return, but at a decreasing rate.