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Speed Reads Weekly Column

by Gayle White
January 21, 2002

Religion: Searching for best fit

Americans are pew-jumping, according to the largest survey ever conducted of U.S. worshippers. According to the study, one in every three worshippers changed congregations in the past five years.

Among the other findings: Women attend worship services more often than men; nearly 40 percent of churchgoers have college degrees; and worshippers are more likely to turn out to vote (72 percent in November 2000, compared with 50 percent of all eligible voters).

The U.S. Congregational Life Survey questioned a random national sample of 350,000 people representing about 2,000 congregations in 50 denominations and faith groups. The survey was funded jointly by the Lilly Endowment and the Louisville Institute. Questionnaires were filled out during services at participating congregations.

Half of those surveyed said they had prepared or given food to someone outside their family or congregation during the past year. Thirty-eight percent said they had donated money to charitable organizations other than their own congregations.

Copyright 2002 Atlanta Journal Constitution


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