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Amid Flourishing Of Independence From Religious Groups, Unitarian Universalists Continue To Sputter

Late last year, I noted that, amid a rapid increase of Americans who declare them to be unaffiliated with any religious group, the number of Unitarian Universalists in the United States had shrunk so low that the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life could no longer accurately measure the size of the congregation independently in its general survey. What’s more, those small number of Unitarian Universalists remaining were becoming more culturally conservative and more apathetic and uninvolved in their congregations.

Unitarian Universalist decline

Number of Unitarian Universalists, 2010 to 2016

This spring, a new survey by the Pew Forum found a continuing increase among religiously unaffiliated Americans, but once again, though Unitarian Universalists have long claimed to be welcoming of religious independents, Unitarian Universalism has been unable to attract many among the younger generation. In fact, the number of Unitarian Universalists continues to shrink, down to under 155,000 this year.

5 thoughts on “Amid Flourishing Of Independence From Religious Groups, Unitarian Universalists Continue To Sputter”

  1. JO says:

    No surprise that a “so called religion” without any real “religious beliefs” that has morphed into a political action group for the left wing progressive agenda fails to attract people on Sunday morning. There is no “there there” so nothing to retain visitors who soon see it for what it is….zilch. I assume the bulk of such visitors wake up, make fair trade coffee, turn on NPR and listen to “mellow jazz” on Sundays where they get the same message without the cost and transportation time of “church attendance.”

    1. J Clifford says:

      JO, your caricature of Unitarian Universalists isn’t an adequate response.

      I’m wondering what you think about the nationwide (all 50 states) decline in Christianity.

      1. JO says:


        I think my description was dead on. As a former Unitarian, it was clear that their is an
        inherent intolerance toward any view but liberal progressive. This message comes from both
        the church headquarters staff, journal and the local congregation. It has been discussed by many former
        and current Unitarians for years.

        The decline, among the UUA, mainline and other churches reflects many things – loss of relevance in an age of science, loss of moral authority in an age of church scandal and watering down or elimination of historical standards, technology and work driven lives have made the traditional Sunday church attendance more difficult. Even the rise of youth sports has had a large impact as most events take place on the weekend, including early Sundays….soccer, football etc.

        The larger media culture has been hostile towards religion in general – mocking, derisive messages in movies, tv, etc. have an impact, especially on youth.

        1. JO says:


  2. JO says:

    Here is a good example…the article and then the many opposing responses.

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