Category : Sociology

(PRC) One-in-Ten Black People Living in the U.S. Are Immigrants

The Black population of the United States is diverse, growing and changing. The foreign-born segment of this population has played an important role in this growth over the past four decades and is projected to continue doing so in future years.

Roughly 4.6 million, or one-in-ten, Black people in the U.S. were born in a different country as of 2019, up from 3% in 1980. By 2060, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that this number will increase to 9.5 million, or more than double the current level (the Census Bureau only offers projections for single race groups).

Between 1980 and 2019, the nation’s Black population as a whole grew by 20 million, with the Black foreign-born population accounting for 19% of this growth. In future years, the Black immigrant population will account for roughly a third of the U.S. Black population’s growth through 2060, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

The Black immigrant population is also projected to outpace the U.S.-born Black population in growth. While both groups are increasing in number, the foreign-born population is projected to grow by 90% between 2020 and 2060, while the U.S.-born population is expected to grow 29% over the same time span.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Immigration, Race/Race Relations, Sociology

(CT) Evangelical churchgoers are pretty happy with how things are going at their churches

At a time when pastors feel particularly under pressure, here’s some good news from the pews: Evangelical churchgoers are pretty happy with how things are going at their churches.

Most don’t think the sermons are too long; if anything, they’d like to see more in-depth teaching from leaders. They aren’t bothered by too many messages about giving. They don’t think social issues and politics play an outsized role in the teaching.

That’s according to a new survey of evangelical churchgoers in the US, the Congregational Scorecard conducted by Grey Matter Research and Consulting and Infinity Concepts.

Around three-quarters are satisfied with their congregation approach to various areas of church life and wouldn’t want it to change, the survey found.

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Posted in Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Gallup) Is Marriage Becoming Irrelevant?

Americans are less inclined now than in recent years to see marriage as critical for couples who have children together or for couples who plan to spend the rest of their lives together. Most U.S. adults have been married at some point in their lives, but those figures are declining. Still, the vast majority of adults who have never been married remain interested in getting married someday.

Fewer U.S. adults now than in past years believe it is “very important” for couples who have children together to be married. Currently, 29% say it is very important that such a couple legally marry, down from 38% who held this view in 2013 and 49% in 2006.

Another 31% of U.S. adults currently say it is “somewhat important” for couples with children to be married, bringing the total to 60% who consider it important to some degree. Meanwhile, four in 10 say it is not too (18%) or not at all (22%) important.

In 2006, Americans were more than twice as likely to say it is very important (49%) for couples with children to wed as to say it is not important (23%).

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Marriage & Family, Sociology

(Gallup) U.S. Charitable Donations Rebound; Volunteering Still Down

Eighty-one percent of Americans say they donated money to a religious or other charitable organization in the past year, and 56% volunteered time to such an organization. After dipping in April 2020 during the early stages of the pandemic, charitable donations have rebounded and are essentially back to the level measured in 2013 and 2017 surveys.

Volunteer activity also dropped in 2020 but, in contrast to charitable giving, remains lower than it was in pre-pandemic surveys. While lower today than in recent years, the rate of volunteering has been at its current level in the past, most notably during the Great Recession.

The decline in donations was seen among all income groups in 2020, but more so among those in lower- and middle-income households. Charitable donations are back up among those in all income brackets, with upper-income Americans now returning to pre-pandemic rates. Giving rates among lower- and middle-income Americans are only slightly below where they were in 2017.

Volunteer activity is also lower now among all income groups than before the pandemic.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PRC) About Three-in-Ten U.S. Adults Are Now Religiously Unaffiliated

The secularizing shifts evident in American society so far in the 21st century show no signs of slowing. The latest Pew Research Center survey of the religious composition of the United States finds the religiously unaffiliated share of the public is 6 percentage points higher than it was five years ago and 10 points higher than a decade ago.

Christians continue to make up a majority of the U.S. populace, but their share of the adult population is 12 points lower in 2021 than it was in 2011. In addition, the share of U.S. adults who say they pray on a daily basis has been trending downward, as has the share who say religion is “very important” in their lives.

Currently, about three-in-ten U.S. adults (29%) are religious “nones” – people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religious identity. Self-identified Christians of all varieties (including Protestants, Catholics, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Orthodox Christians) make up 63% of the adult population. Christians now outnumber religious “nones” by a ratio of a little more than two-to-one. In 2007, when the Center began asking its current question about religious identity, Christians outnumbered “nones” by almost five-to-one (78% vs. 16%).

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Wash. Post) More Americans say they’re not planning to have a child, new poll says, as U.S. birthrate declines

More U.S. adults who do not already have children are saying they are unlikely to ever have them, a new Pew Research Center survey finds — findings that could draw renewed attention to the risks of declining birthrates for industrialized nations.

Experts are concerned that the U.S. birthrate, which has declined for the sixth straight year, may not fuel enough population growth on its own to keep the future economy afloat and fund social programs.

Women between the ages of 18 to 49 and men between 18 and 59 who said they are not parents were asked the question, “Thinking about the future, how likely is it that you will have children someday?”

In October, 26 percent of them said it is “very likely,” a six-point drop from 2018, when 32 percent answered “very likely.” Meanwhile, the share of Americans who answered “not too likely” in 2021 grew to 21 percent, compared to 16 percent in 2018.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Children, Marriage & Family, Sociology

(Gallup) Americans More Optimistic About Pandemic’s Trajectory

Americans’ outlook for the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. has improved, as the summer surge brought on by the delta variant has waned in most parts of the country. The percentage of Americans who now say the U.S. COVID-19 situation is improving has more than doubled between September and October, to 51%.

Over the same period, worry about contracting the virus has edged down four percentage points, to 36%, and concern about the availability of hospital supplies, treatment and services has tumbled 10 points, to 33%. Although the public is more optimistic about the current state of the pandemic, a majority thinks the disruption to life will continue throughout 2022 or longer than that.

These findings are from an Oct. 18-24 update of Gallup’s COVID-19 survey, which interviewed more than 4,000 members of its probability-based panel by web. Interviewing was conducted at a time when COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths were down sharply from the most recent peak.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Sociology

(GR) Terry Mattingly–It’s an important political question: Are you a believer or a self-identified believer?

“All religious communities have lots of highly committed people, and all religious communities have their share of marginal members whose faith isn’t all that active,” said Green. For pollsters, the challenge is asking questions that help draw lines between “self-identified believers and those who are truly active” in their faith groups, he added.

The American Bible Society, in its “State of the Bible” surveys, has tried to document ways in which beliefs about the Bible, and personal interactions with scripture, separate “practicing Christians” from “self-identified Christians.” This matters, in part, because religious groups containing a high percentage of committed believers usually maintain their members, or even make converts, while other groups struggle to survive.

The most recent ABS survey (.pdf here) was completed last January, with data collected from 3,354 online interviews with adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The American Bible Society began studying these kinds of issues as early as 1812.

In this survey, a “practicing Christians” was defined as someone who “identifies as a Christian, attends a religious service at least once a month” and states that “faith is very important” in his or her life. Thus, said the report, practicing the faith affected their lives “in a transformative way.” Meanwhile, “self-identified Christians” were those who “simply say they believe.” According to this study, in America:

* Evangelical churches include 58% “practicing Christians” and 42% who are “self-identified.”

* Historically Black churches – evangelical, Pentecostal and “mainline” combined – are 31% “practicing” and 69% “self-identified” Christians.

* America’s more liberal “mainline” churches – many of which still contain significant numbers of evangelicals – include 28% “practicing” Christians and 72% “self-identified….”

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Posted in Anthropology, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PRC) A Rising Share of U.S. Adults Are Living Without a Spouse or Partner

As relationships, living arrangements and family life continue to evolve for American adults, a rising share are not living with a romantic partner. A new Pew Research Center analysis of census data finds that in 2019, roughly four-in-ten adults ages 25 to 54 (38%) were unpartnered – that is, neither married nor living with a partner.1 This share is up sharply from 29% in 1990.2 Men are now more likely than women to be unpartnered, which wasn’t the case 30 years ago.

The growth in the single population is driven mainly by the decline in marriage among adults who are at prime working age. At the same time, there has been a rise in the share who are cohabiting, but it hasn’t been enough to offset the drop in marriage – hence the overall decline in partnership. While the unpartnered population includes some adults who were previously married (those who are separated, divorced or widowed), all of the growth in the unpartnered population since 1990 has come from a rise in the number who have never been married.

This trend has broad societal implications, as does the growing gap in well-being between partnered and unpartnered adults. Looking across a range of measures of economic and social status, unpartnered adults generally have different – often worse – outcomes than those who are married or cohabiting. This pattern is apparent among both men and women. Unpartnered adults have lower earnings, on average, than partnered adults and are less likely to be employed or economically independent. They also have lower educational attainment and are more likely to live with their parents. Other research suggests that married and cohabiting adults fare better than those who are unpartnered when it comes to some health outcomes.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Sociology

(Gallup) The Dissatisfaction of Women in the U.S. with the treatment of their gender in society hits a record low

Women in the U.S. remain largely dissatisfied with the treatment of their gender in society, do not think there is gender equality in job opportunities and favor affirmative action programs for women. Conversely, majorities of men are satisfied with the treatment of women in society and think women and men in the U.S. have equal job opportunities. However, well over half of men support affirmative action programs for women.

Overall, 53% of Americans, including 44% of women and 61% of men, are very or somewhat satisfied with the treatment of women in society. Less than half of U.S. adults (47%) and women (33%) think men and women have equal job opportunities, but 61% of men say they do. Meanwhile, affirmative action programs for women are favored by majorities of all three groups — 66% of U.S. adults, 72% of women and 61% of men.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Sociology, Women

(PRC) A Rising Share of U.S. Adults Are Living Without a Spouse or Partner

As relationships, living arrangements and family life continue to evolve for American adults, a rising share are not living with a romantic partner. A new Pew Research Center analysis of census data finds that in 2019, roughly four-in-ten adults ages 25 to 54 (38%) were unpartnered – that is, neither married nor living with a partner.1 This share is up sharply from 29% in 1990.2 Men are now more likely than women to be unpartnered, which wasn’t the case 30 years ago.

The growth in the single population is driven mainly by the decline in marriage among adults who are at prime working age. At the same time, there has been a rise in the share who are cohabiting, but it hasn’t been enough to offset the drop in marriage – hence the overall decline in partnership. While the unpartnered population includes some adults who were previously married (those who are separated, divorced or widowed), all of the growth in the unpartnered population since 1990 has come from a rise in the number who have never been married.

This trend has broad societal implications, as does the growing gap in well-being between partnered and unpartnered adults. Looking across a range of measures of economic and social status, unpartnered adults generally have different – often worse – outcomes than those who are married or cohabiting. This pattern is apparent among both men and women. Unpartnered adults have lower earnings, on average, than partnered adults and are less likely to be employed or economically independent. They also have lower educational attainment and are more likely to live with their parents. Other research suggests that married and cohabiting adults fare better than those who are unpartnered when it comes to some health outcomes.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Sociology

(Economist) Americans say their individual well-being improved in 2020

Social well-being is highest in the richest states, in the north-east and west. But there is no obvious reason why some states have improved more than others. We found no correlation with covid-19 infections, the unemployment rate, or the outcome of the 2020 election. The states with the least severe lockdowns, as measured by another index from the University of Oxford, did tend to experience the biggest increases in social well-being (see right-hand chart). But the five states enjoying the greatest improvement—Maryland, Delaware, South Dakota, Alabama, and Minnesota—do not appear to have much in common.

Although the reason may be difficult to pin down, context and technology offer some clues. Amid the grief and devastation wrought by covid-19, Americans might have been more aware of their fortunes relative to others’. Indeed, a previous Sharecare survey carried out during the depths of lockdowns in April 2020 found that over one-third of Americans said they “felt grateful”. The same survey also found that 95% of Americans were using technology to stay in touch with others. Perhaps swapping empty office chatter and obligatory social engagements for fewer but more meaningful interactions—albeit done virtually—improved overall social well-being.

Some research suggests that after collective traumatic experiences, such as natural disasters, communities experience more social cohesion. During the pandemic, divisive disagreements over health issues such as the wearing of face masks cast doubt on such a theory. But the pandemic may have made Americans seek more support from friends, prompting an improvement in social well-being.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Psychology, Sociology

(Gallup) Ratings of Black-White Relations at New Low

For the second consecutive year, U.S. adults’ positive ratings of relations between Black and White Americans are at their lowest point in more than two decades of measurement. Currently, 42% of Americans say relations between the two groups are “very” or “somewhat” good, while 57% say they are “somewhat” or “very” bad.

The most recent rating of Black-White relations in the U.S. is not statistically different from last year’s 44%. However, the reading has eroded nine percentage points over the past two years as the nation has grappled with the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent nationwide protests and calls for racial justice.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Race/Race Relations, Sociology

(Gallup) Americans’ Life Ratings Reach Record High

The percentage of Americans who evaluate their lives well enough to be considered “thriving” on Gallup’s Live Evaluation Index reached 59.2% in June, the highest in over 13 years of ongoing measurement and exceeding the previous high of 57.3% from September 2017. During the initial COVID-19 outbreak and economic shutdown, the thriving percentage plunged nearly 10 percentage points to 46.4% by late April 2020, tying the record low last measured during the Great Recession.

The most recent results, captured June 14-20, 2021, are based on 4,820 U.S. adults surveyed by web as a part of the Gallup Panel, a probability-based, non-opt-in panel of about 120,000 adults across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

For its Life Evaluation Index, Gallup classifies Americans as “thriving,” “struggling” or “suffering” according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10, based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. Those who rate their current life a 7 or higher and their anticipated life in five years an 8 or higher are classified as thriving.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Sociology

(Philip Jenkins) What if the Nones Really Do Herald the Decline of Religion?

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Europe, History, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PD) Alexander Riley–Who Knew Émile Durkheim Was a Conservative on Sex and Marriage?

Durkheim was a trenchant critic of the contractual view of marriage, in which the relationship is said to involve only the two spouses and to depend entirely on their satisfaction with each other. In his 1906 essay “Divorce by Mutual Consent,” he criticized the liberalization of divorce that many secular intellectuals then championed. Like their counterparts today, the latter argued that it was clearly in the interests of both parents—and frequently of their children—for marriage to be dissolvable by agreement of the spouses alone. Durkheim countered that such a shift potentially harms the institution of matrimony itself.

Durkheim noted empirical evidence that divorce affects suicide rates. Marriage appeared to significantly reduce the likelihood of suicide, and in the parts of Durkheim’s France in which divorce was more common, this positive effect of marriage was weaker. Although married women were less likely to commit suicide only if their marriage had yielded children, for married men the risk was less in many scenarios. Absent an exterior regulatory force or presence, Durkheim reasoned, individual men are largely ineffective at moderating their sexual energies, and they end up emotionally distressed and dissolute. The marital institution regulates their desires. However, he went on, “Regulation from which one can withdraw whenever one has a notion is no longer regulation.” By removing the judge—the representative of society, whose authority historically extends from the religious origins of the polity—from the decision-making process of divorce, contractual marriage inevitably weakens the regulatory force of marriage.

Durkheim also insisted that marriage affects parties beyond the two spouses, most obviously their children. Children so change the marital relationship that, once they exist, they alter the marriage’s purpose. In Durkheim’s view, the couple, formerly the end of the relationship, becomes but a means to the end of the family for which they are responsible. Spouses’ obligation to their children clearly invalidates a model for divorce based merely on mutual consent.

Even the partners themselves may benefit from marriages that they would rather escape out of anger or spite. Although in a few marriages disharmony between the spouses may be so great that separation is the only reasonable path, Durkheim maintained that there are many, many more “simply mediocre marriages”—exciting and joyous only in an irregular, inconstant manner—that nonetheless produce “sufficient feeling for . . . [the] duty . . . to fulfill [one’s] function.” They thereby they provide a significant social good. This argument was almost perfectly consonant with that of the Christian conservatives of Durkheim’s day. It also scandalizes most contemporary sociologists, who have moved far from the origins of their discipline.

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Posted in France, History, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Sociology

(Gallup) Seven in 10 U.S. White-Collar Workers Still Working Remotely

Before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement last week that fully vaccinated people can forgo masks in most settings, the majority of U.S. workers reported doing their jobs remotely during the pandemic, including 51% in April. But this varied widely by job type, including 72% of white-collar workers and 14% of blue-collar workers. These rates have been fairly stable since last fall, after declining from their peaks in April 2020, when most schools and non-essential businesses were shuttered.

Gallup’s remote-worker trend is based on data collected each month via web as part of its COVID-19 tracking poll, a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults aged 18 and older, using the probability-based Gallup Panel. Workers are considered remote if they report working from home at least 10% of the time in the past week.

Given the relative stability of remote work over the second half of the pandemic to date — from October 2020 to April 2021 — it is appropriate to use the combined data to analyze aspects of remote work in greater detail. On average during this period, 52% of all workers, including 72% of those in white-collar occupations and 14% in blue-collar occupations, have performed their job all or part of the time from home.

Gallup’s white-collar job category comprises occupations traditionally performed in offices or behind a computer. The blue-collar category includes jobs mainly involving manual work or physical labor. Three job areas — education, healthcare and sales — primarily involve interaction with clients or the public and are harder to categorize using the blue-collar/white-collar definitions. Their orientation to remote work is unique and is discussed below in the context of other specific occupations.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology, Sociology

(IFYC) Musa al-Gharbi–Post-Religious America? Don’t Hold Your Breath

The chart…[in my essay] is from a new book by Robert Putnam, The Upswing. The basic pattern it reports for membership in houses of worship also holds with respect to the share of Americans belonging to labor unions, national chapter-based organizations, and even family formation. Moreover, the same ‘inverted u’ pattern observed with respect to these social bonds also plays out for trends in civic engagement, trust in institutions, political participation, cross-partisan engagement, economic equality, social mobility and more. Overall, Putnam argues, the trends observed in America today closely approximate conditions during the ‘Gilded Age’ (i.e. the 1870s through around 1900).

The book highlights how the decline of organized religion is not incidental to the other trends. The rise of the ‘social gospel’ in the late 19th century played an important role in building momentum in the formative years of the ‘upswing’ across the social, cultural, political and economic dimensions Putnam explores. Religious participation predicts increased likelihood to donate and volunteer for both religious and secular causes and organizations. It predicts higher voting and other forms of civic participation. And the erosion of organized religion in America seems to have exacerbated declines across many measures of social solidarity, equality, and engagement. However, these declines need not persist indefinitely.

In a sense it is encouraging to recognize that the United States has experienced similar levels of social anomie in the past as we are living through today, and successfully built institutions, practices and norms to pull ourselves together. This is a feat that contemporary Americans or our successors could conceivably repeat.

Therefore, America is not necessarily headed towards godlessness, on a one-way trip to secularism. If it seems that way looking at charts like the ones that opened this essay, this is because most such graphics begin near the WWII era, which was an unusual period of flourishing for organized religion in the United States. Again, it does not represent our historical norm.

Indeed, although America has returned to roughly the same level of affiliation with religious institutions as we had in 1900, even this was a significant increase over earlier periods.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(LR) The Vanishing Bible Belt: The Secrets Southern Churches Must Learn to Stay Healthy

In Barna’s ranking of the most post-Christian cities in America, New England and the West Coast predictably dominate the top of the list. But keep scrolling, and you’ll begin to spot some Southern states. Texas, Florida, and North Carolina all have cities in the top 50.

Perhaps more telling is the change that’s taken place since the list was first published in 2017. At least 20 cities in the Southeast have grown more post-Christian, some of them dramatically.

In Charleston, S.C., Barna’s research showed 22% of the population was considered post-Christian in 2017. Two years later, the number rose to 34%.

The Waco-Temple-Bryan region of Texas jumped from 32% post-Christian in 2017 to 43% in 2019.

To qualify as “post-Christian,” individuals must meet at least nine criteria such as not believing in God, not attending church in the past six months, and disagreeing that the Bible is accurate.

Dallas, Texas; Jacksonville, Fla.; Raleigh, N.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; Norfolk, Va.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Baton Rouge, La; and Charleston, W.Va. are among the other Bible Belt cities that saw an increase in post-Christian culture.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PR FactTank) Most Black Protestants say denominational affiliation is less important than inspiring sermons

Black churches are among the oldest and most influential institutions dedicated to supporting Black Americans. When they were first founded, denominations like the African Methodist Episcopal Church gave Black Americans a place to worship freely.

Over the years, Black congregations have not only offered a place of prayer for many Black worshippers, but also played a role in the advancement of Black Americans more generally – from supporting colleges to taking the lead in many civil rights causes.

Yet, when it comes to choosing a house of worship, most Black Americans don’t prioritize denominational labels. A welcoming congregation and inspiring sermons are far more important to them, according to a recent Pew Research Center report.

Only 30% of Black adults say that it would be “very important” to find a congregation in their current denomination if they were looking for a new house of worship, according to the survey, conducted Nov. 19, 2019-June 3, 2020. Far larger shares say it is very important to find a congregation that is welcoming (80%) or that has inspiring sermons (77%).

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(SHNS) Terry Mattingly: Under the nones umbrella

Do the math. “Nones” were 10% of America’s population in 1996, 15% in 2006, 20% in 2014 and 26% in 2019. This stunning trend linked many stories that I have covered for decades, since this past week marked my 33rd anniversary writing this national “On Religion” column.

Obviously, these evolving labels described a growing phenomenon in public and private life, said political scientist Ryan Burge of Eastern Illinois University, author of the new book, “The Nones: Where They Came From, Who They Are, and Where They Are Going.”

But hidden under that “nones” umbrella are divisions that deserve attention. For example, the 2018 Cooperative Congressional Election Study found that 5.7% of the American population is atheist, 5.7% agnostic and 19.9% “nothing in particular.”

“When you say ‘nones’ and all you think about is atheists and agnostics, then you’re not seeing the big picture,” said Burge, who is a contributor at the GetReligion.org website I have led since 2004. “Atheists have a community. Atheists have a belief system. They are highly active when it comes to politics and public institutions.

“But these ‘nothing in particular’ Americans don’t have any of that. They’re struggling. They’re disconnected from American life in so many ways.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Religion & Culture, Sociology

(LR) Slowly, but Surely and Safely: Churchgoers Plan to Return as Confidence Grows

For the first time in more than a year, Erin Mohring and her family attended church in person this past Sunday. They are not the only previously familiar faces returning to pews across the U.S.

A Lifeway Research study earlier this year found 9 in 10 Protestant churchgoers say they plan to return to in-person services once COVID-19 is no longer an active threat. Many of those who are just now returning or plan to return later were, like the Mohrings, active members of their congregation.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mohring said she and her family attended Sunday services and Wednesday night activities each week. After coronavirus cases began to spread across the U.S. last spring, however, they made the decision on March 15, 2020, to attend strictly remotely.

That became more difficult as their church moved back to in-person services. “The church we were attending when the pandemic hit did online services for a little while, but when group gatherings of any kind were allowed again in our area, the online services became an afterthought and eventually went away,” she said.

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Gallup) U.S. Church Membership Falls Below Majority for First Time

Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999.

U.S. church membership was 73% when Gallup first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century.

As many Americans celebrate Easter and Passover this week, Gallup updates a 2019 analysis that examined the decline in church membership over the past 20 years.

Gallup asks Americans a battery of questions on their religious attitudes and practices twice each year. The following analysis of declines in church membership relies on three-year aggregates from 1998-2000 (when church membership averaged 69%), 2008-2010 (62%), and 2018-2020 (49%). The aggregates allow for reliable estimates by subgroup, with each three-year period consisting of data from more than 6,000 U.S. adults.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Lifeway Research) Fewer Churches Held In-person Services in January

Most churches have found a way to continue meeting despite the ongoing pandemic, but fewer met in person in January as COVID-19 cases spiked across the country.

A new study from Nashville-based Lifeway Research found 76% of U.S. Protestant pastors say their churches met in person in January, down from 87% who said the same in September.

Even among those who are holding in-person services, few are near pre-pandemic attendance levels. Around 3 in 10 pastors (31%) say their attendance in January 2021 is less than half what it was in January 2020, months before the coronavirus prompted national lockdowns.

Slightly more (37%) note attendance between 50% and 70%. Another 3 in 10 say attendance is close to normal (70%-100%). Few (2%) have grown in their in-person attendance compared to one year ago.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(PRC) Three-quarters of Black Americans say Black churches have helped promote racial equality

Though primarily places of worship, Black churches have long played prominent roles in African American communities, offering services such as job training programs and insurance cooperatives, and many of their pastors have advocated for racial equality. Today, around three-quarters of Black adults say predominantly Black churches have done either “a great deal” (29%) or “some” (48%) to help Black people move toward equality in the United States, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

That is lower than the share of Black adults crediting civil rights organizations a great deal or some (89%) but higher than the share who credit the federal government (55%), predominantly Black Muslim organizations such as the Nation of Islam (54%), or predominantly White churches (38%).

Majorities of Black adults, irrespective of the racial composition of their house of worship or whether they attend one at all, say predominantly Black churches have done at least some to help Black Americans. Even 66% of Black Americans who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” – hold this view, according to the survey of 8,660 Black American adults conducted Nov. 19, 2019, through June 3, 2020.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(CT) Mexican Census: Evangelicals at New High, Catholics at New Low

The Catholic majority in Mexico is slipping, as Protestants surpassed 10 percent of the population in the country for the first time ever.

According to recently released data from Mexico’s 2020 census, the Protestant/evangelical movement increased from 7.5 percent in 2010 to 11.2 percent last year.

The Catholic Church has historically dominated the religious landscape across Latin America, but especially in Mexico, which ranks among the most heavily Catholic countries in the region. Today, though an overwhelming majority of Mexicans still identify as Catholic, declines are accelerating.

It took 50 years—from 1950 to 2000—for the proportion of Catholics in Mexico to drop from 98 percent to 88 percent. Now, only two decades later, that percentage has slipped another 10 points to 77.7 percent.

National church leaders attribute the boom in Protestantism to a range of factors, from the influence of Americans and fellow Latin Americans in the country to effective evangelical outreach in indigenous areas.

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Posted in Evangelicals, Mexico, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sociology

(Gallup) Americans’ Concern Grows About Government, National Discord

Americans are sizing up the nation’s greatest challenges a bit differently this month in the aftermath of a political insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump and the national rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.

Amid this backdrop, the percentage of Americans citing governmental leaders or behavior as the top problem jumped to 29% — the highest in almost a year — from 20% in December. Also, a record-high 12% cited national discord, up from 5% last month. At the same time, mentions of the coronavirus fell 11 percentage points to 22%, while mentions of race-related issues were essentially unchanged at 10%.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Sociology

(Pew RC) More Americans than people in other advanced economies say COVID-19 has strengthened their religious faith

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause deaths and disrupt billions of lives globally, people may turn to religious groups, family, friends, co-workers or other social networks for support. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in the summer of 2020 reveals that more Americans than people in other economically developed countries say the outbreak has bolstered their religious faith and the faith of their compatriots.

Nearly three-in-ten Americans (28%) report stronger personal faith because of the pandemic, and the same share think the religious faith of Americans overall has strengthened, according to the survey of 14 economically developed countries.

Far smaller shares in other parts of the world say religious faith has been affected by the coronavirus. For example, just 10% of British adults report that their own faith is stronger as a result of the pandemic, and 14% think the faith of Britons overall has increased due to COVID-19. In Japan, 5% of people say religion now plays a stronger role in both their own lives and the lives of their fellow citizens.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Sociology

(Gallup) U.S. Satisfaction at 11% in Early January

Before the Jan. 20 inauguration of Joe Biden as the nation’s 46th president, 11% of Americans said they are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. This is down from 16% in December and marginally lower than readings of 13% and 14% in July, August and September last year, while remaining a few percentage points above the all-time low of 7% recorded in 2008.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Sociology

(Barna) 3 Insights to Help Pastors Care for Their Church This Season

Barna data show that pastors across the U.S. feel a sense of responsibility when it comes to caring for their church members during crisis. In a year that has been marked by uncertainty, distance and trauma, pastors are likely facing even greater pressure to support and guide their people—perhaps while their own mental and emotional well-being are also suffering.

As a difficult year comes to a close and a challenging holiday season continues, let’s examine findings from three recent Barna studies that could help pastors as they think through caring for their congregants—and themselves—during crisis.

Most pastors agree that trauma is an issue the Church should address, but many church leaders have had little to no training in the way of trauma care. Data from Barna’s recent report created in partnership with American Bible Society—Trauma in America—show that the majority of Protestant pastors (73%) indicates they feel “somewhat” equipped to help someone in their congregation who may be dealing with significant trauma. Only one in seven (15%) feels “very” well-equipped, while 12 percent do not feel equipped at all.

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sociology