Monday, March 17, 2008

It got me thinking

The other day I was sitting around and I was wondering if I was weird.

...well, to be perfectly honest, I'm pretty sure I know the answer to that general question...

I was specifically wondering if it was weird that I attend religious services almost every Sunday.

So, I turned to the ear doctor and asked his opinion. He's always got one, so I figured I'd find out what it was. I asked, "Sweets, what do you think the percentage of Americans who go to some church at least 3 out of 4 Sundays a month?"

He thought and said, "probably a lot."

Hmmmm. Not quite satisfied I added, "I wonder what the difference in percentage is if you break it down to Americans under 35 years old and over 35."

Again, quite contemplation followed by, "Probably more in the older bracket than the younger."

I thought it was interesting, so I thought I'd see what you guys thought. Any ideas out there?


Derrick said...

If I had to guess, I'd estimate that around 10% of Americans attend church 3/4 Sunday's a month. And I'd bet that there are very few folks between 17 and 30 in that category (maybe 15% of church-goers).

After a quick Googling I found this article:

According to most polls, about 40% of Americans say they attend church regularly. This seems very high to me. Especially when you consider that: 17% of church-goers claim to tithe regularly (10% or higher of their income), but in actuality the number is around 3%.

And we wonder why our culture is going down the tube...

Anth said...

I think the number of Americans attending religious services 3 out of 4 Sundays a month would be more like "some." Like closer to 60% of people over 35. And maybe 40% of those under 35.

Anonymous said...

I know my church is much more packed on Easter and Christmas than it is on your average Sunday.
(In fact - and I know this is very UNChristian of me - but I find myself thinking... on Easter... I have to stand because the rest of you decided to finally show up?!?!? I know I should praise God that the lost sheep have returned, but I can't help feeling irritated!)
Anyway, I'm betting at least half of the numbers that CLAIM they attend regularly are actually the Easter/Christmas/ Hatchin' Matchin' and Dispatchin' variety.

My BF's church is auctioning off the front row pews for Easter Sunday - so that SOMEONE can be guaranteed a seat! Brilliant!

Anyway... regarding the weird part - I spent a lot of my time dating just hoping to find a man who could accept that I attend Mass every Sunday. He didn't have to join me... just accept it.
Thank God I found a


Anonymous said...

oops. I knew eventually my long-windedness would catch up with me...

Thank God I found a man who is a regular church-goer and of my same faith!
God is Good!


Tanya said...

I really think it depends on the religion. Certain religions have much higher rates of service attendance.

In general, I think that attendance rates plummet during college and post-college years, then start increasing again as people start families.

Another factor in formal attendance is the growth of hospitality/service industry and health care jobs. People with those jobs often work on Saturdays and Sundays, which could contribute to a decline in attendance.

I also believe that in good times, service attendance decreases and in bad times, attendance increases. IMO, does one need to attend a formal service to have a relationship with whatever deity one believes in or faith one ascribes to? No. But what happened after 9/11? Many Judeo-Christians who formerly went to services on Christmas/Easter or Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur suddenly flocked to their churches and temples in search of comfort.

Just my thoughts.

ps I was raised by agnostic parents, was taken inconsistently to services by both my Reform Jewish and United Methodist grandmothers until I was about 13. After several years of exploring it on my own, I started formally practicing Buddhism at the first of the year. I go to formal teachings once a week and had my first practice day (which is a half-day of meditation and formal practice) two Saturdays ago.

Far From Perfect said...

we have always gone,since day one. we enjoy our church family,so do my kids. it's really nice having the additional support with my Dr gone. Religion to me is a private thing... rarely talk about it with others. Presby's tend to be that way.

Cory said...

And I agree with the ear doctor... there's definitely a relationship between age and religious service attendance. Probably a relationship between education level and attendance too.

Courtney said...

It also probably depends on the region of the country you're in. I know exactly 2 people in my entire group of friends who attend church regularly. But I'm sure if you went to the some small town in the bible belt, you'd see numbers in the 90% range.

As breakdown by age... I think a large percentage of people under age 12, a small percentage of people age 12 - 17, a tiny percentage if people age 18-22, and then increasing numbers as people get older. High School and College are a tough age.