The Demographics of Faith

If there is a heaven and you end up there, don’t be surprised if your neighbors aredisproportionately female. In its annual State of the Church survey on Christian religious practice, Barna Research Group found women more likely than men to pray, go to church and read the Bible. Conversely, men were more likely than women (38 percent versus 29 percent) to be “unchurched”—i.e., not to have attended church during the previous six months except for special occasions like weddings and funerals. Unbelievers aren’t the only ones who skip church. The survey found that “four in 10 born-again Christians do not attend church or read the Bible in a typical week.” In all, 85 percent of the poll’s national sample of adults said they’re Christian, though far fewer (49 percent) said they’re “absolutely committed to the Christian faith.” The number who said they’d “prayed to God” during the seven days before being polled (82 percent) was nearly double the number who’d gone to church during that period (42 percent). Among other findings from the survey: While whites and Hispanics were “unexpectedly similar in their faith profiles,” black Americans were “much more likely” than either group to say they read the Bible, pray and attend church services on a regular basis.