As American culture drifts away from its religious foundation, younger generations become increasingly less interested in joining a church.
A recent ABC News story followed two young women on their journey to sisterhood.
"This is about God's call and responding to that," one of the women explained.
The report stated that the U.S. nun population has decreased by 76% since 1965.
The Catholic Church has struggled to draw more young women into the sisterhood for decades. With fewer taking vows and the average age of nuns being 80 years old, trends indicate that there will be only 1,000 nuns remaining in 20 years.
The priest population has also decreased substantially in recent decades, raising concerns of a clergy shortage. However, those numbers are being severely outpaced by the decline of religious sisters.
The drop in church attendance was most recently noted by South Dakota institutions. For example, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, one of the largest churches in the state, reported a 10% loss in membership over the last decade. Similarly, Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese noted a 26% drop since 2010.
The head pastor at Christ Community Church in South Dakota attributed the drop in attendance to the citizens' ongoing COVID concerns.
Many religious institutions have attempted to adapt post-COVID by offering virtual services as an alternative to keep church-goers engaged, but that hasn't appeared to offset the decline.
Gallup's first measurement in 1937 found that 73% of adults belonged to a church. In its most recent assessment in 2020, that number decreased to 47% of adults.
In 2021, 29% of U.S. citizens said they were not affiliated with any religion. Memberships will continue to plunge if more Americans identify as having no religious preferences.