Who is America today? Take a look at census info.The
diversity among those living in the United States extends beyond race and
ethnicity. The latest national census figures on the 281 million citizens can
help Southern Baptists understand the population we are called to reach for
Illustrations by Mark Herron
Source: Profiles of General Demographic Characteristics, U.S. Census
Bureau, Census 2000, May 2001.
Train up a childA new study reveals that a practice
of attending church during childhood has a positive impact on an adults
church-based and personal spiritual activities. Seven out of 10 American adults
(71percent) report that they regularly attended a Christian church for some
period of time during childhood. Of those who attended church as children, 61
percent still attend church regularly today. By way of contrast, 78 percent of
those who were not church-goers as children do not attend church today.
Childhood church attendance apparently has an impact on other types of
religious practices. How do the personal practices of adults who attended
church as children compare to the habits of those who avoided church as kids?
Childhood church-goers were twice as likely to read the Bible during a typical
week, twice as likely to attend a weekly church service and nearly 50 percent
more likely to pray to the Lord during a normal week.
Source: Barna Research Online, November 5, 2001
Where do we come from?The diversity of the U.S.
population is impacted in part by the number of individuals born outside of the
country. Today, those who are foreign-born comprise 11.2 percent of the total
U.S. population. What countries are the top sources of immigrants to
Source: U.S. News & World Report, August 6, 2001
Bible reading causes sunny outlook on life
Tyndale House Publishers recently commissioned a research study on
Bible-reading habits and ones outlook. Regular Bible reading apparently has a
positive impact on a persons satisfaction with life. For example, 81 percent of
people who reported reading the Bible once a week said they were extremely
satisfied with life in general, and 94 percent of weekly Bible readers believe
life has a clear purpose and meaning.
Source: Tyndale House Publishers and The Barna Research Group, October
Perspectives on religion and lifeThe Gallup
Organization has conducted polls on a regular basis over the past 36 years to
analyze the importance of religion in the lives of Americans. The statistics
over the years havent varied greatly, but the overall wasnt very positiveuntil
September 11, 2001, when interest in God spiked, a trend which some analysts
say has settled back down to previous levels.
The graph below shows response to the question: How important is religion in
your own lifevery important, fairly important, not very
Church and synagogue attendance has also been on a gradual slide over the
past 46 years. Although worship attendance was positively affected in the days
immediately following the attack on America, it looks like things returned to
normal pretty quickly.
Source: The Gallup Organization, cited November 29, 2001, at www.gallup.com
Americas changing faceThe last decade saw the greatest increase in population in
the U.S. (32.7 million) compared to any other decade in the countrys history.
The South and the West experienced the fastest increases, while the slowest
growth was in the Northeast. Population increases in given areas may arise from
either domestic or international migration.
A study of Census 2000 shows that the American population is increasingly
diverseracially and ethnically. Forty percent of all children under the age of
18 are non-Anglo.
Source: EXPLORER Lite, November 5, 2001; U.S. Census Bureau, Census
2000; Census 2000: Race and Ethnic Overview, North American Mission Board, June
Teen church attendance bucks
trendsWhile adult weekly church attendance has been gradually
falling over the years, teen church attendance shows a sharp trend upward. A
poll conducted in early 2001 recorded the highest figure of weekly churchgoing
among teens (53 percent) in the 24 years during which these annual audits were
conducted. The lowest figure to date was 42 percent in the 1997 audit.
Source: Religion Update, The Gallup Organization, June 26, 2001
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