I. Decline of Trust in Institutions

Survey data paints a sobering picture of religious engagement. In 2007, 78% of the US population identified as a Christian. In 2021, the number is down to 63%. The number of Americans who self report as having no religious interest has increased 13% in that same period.  In 2022 -- for the first time in eight decades of survey data -- Gallup found that fewer than half of Americans belong to a church, synagogue, or mosque.  And in the past five years, Gallup found a six percent drop in the number of Americans who believe that a God exists.  And while the number of Catholics in the US has held steady at 21%, those numbers are not reflected in the religious affiliation of young people.

Trust in institutions of all varieties has been on a steep decline in recent years. Notre Dame is committed to supporting the Church and encouraging engagement with every dimension of Catholic life.  Religious disaffiliation trends will pose challenges to how Notre Dame pursues its educational and research missions. 

Dive Deeper: "Going, going, gone: the dynamics of disaffiliation in young Catholics" (SMP and Minnesota Public Radio)

What will Notre Dame be like in 20 years if we have turned this crisis of trust into an opportunity to serve the Church?

Goal: Ensuring that our Catholic character informs all of our endeavors.