Most churchgoers plan to attend in-person services - poll

(Photo: Pexels/Brett Sayles)

As restrictions ease across the US, most American churchgoers are ready to get back to the pews, new research has found.

The study was conducted by the Associated Press and researchers at the University of Chicago, and was based on interviews with 1,125 adult Americans in June. 

It comes at a time when many states across the US are easing restrictions, and shows a keenness among American churchgoers to return to in-person services.

Asked what they plan to do in the next few weeks as things open up, socializing was clearly a top priority for many respondents, with visiting friends and family number one on the list (83%). 

This was followed by recreational shopping for non-essential items (81%), and going to a bar or restaurant (63%). 

For Americans overall, attending a religious service was further down the list, with only 34% saying they planned to do this. 

But this figure rose to nearly three quarters (73%) among those who said they used to attend church at least once a month before the pandemic. 

Lifeway Research's Executive Director Scott McConnell told the AP was nonetheless concerned about the sizeable minority choosing to stay away.

"That's a lot of momentum to lose and a lot of people stepping out of the habit [of regular worship]," he said.