The Pew Forum has released a new Religious Landscape Survey (HT: Dallas Morning News Religion Blog). There's a lot of interesting (in a nerdy, I've-spent-way-too-much-time-in-a-library sort of way) data in there. Somehow stuck on the strange notion that, given the choice between solid scientific data and my off-the-wall opinions, you'll bother to read my opinions anyway, I offer them below:
- The lowest percentage of the religiously unaffiliated in the entire United States goes to the state of Mississippi. I wonder whether they took the poll before or after Pete and Delmar got baptized and saved?
- Only two categories of affiliation have a higher percentage of adherents than Southern Baptists (6.7%): Roman Catholics (23.9%) and "Nothing in Particular" (12.1%). I wonder which are more ready for evangelism, those already a part of some faith tradition or those adrift in no man's land?
- One error in categorization, if Lifeway Research knows what they're talking about, is that the Pew Forum failed to include the Southern Baptist Convention under "Pentecostal, Evang. Trad." :-)
- The highest percentile of Evangelical Protestant churches is in the 30-49 age range, not the "greying" ranges of 50-64 or 65+. With all the hand-wringing I hear over losing younger folks, that surprised me.
- A full 91% of Evangelical Protestants have two or fewer children at home. Considering the immediately previous age-range information, Dr. Al Mohler's observations about childbearing look more and more relevant every day.
- Back to the age thing. The only groups that beat the national average for ages 18-29 are: Historically Black Protestants, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, Buddhists, Other Faiths, and Unaffiliated. In other words, these categories are demographically "younger" than the national population.
- The most male-dominated faith in America is Hinduism, with Unaffiliated running a close second.
- This one had me scratching my head: Historically Black Protestants are more than twice as likely never to have been married than other Protestants.
- Most busy making babies? Mormons and Muslims.
- The buckle of the Bible Belt is not Texas; it is officially Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee. I'm now officially a missionary from my native state to the heathen of the Lone Star State.
There's really enough data there to go on for quite a while. I encourage you to look for yourself. The website (linked above) is quite user-friendly. Who knows how accurate it really is, but it certainly is interesting.