Is recession good for church attendance? Pew finds no link

March 12, 2009

Are more Americans seeking the comfort of faith amid the “Great Recession?

A new analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life suggests not. You can see their analysis and graphic here.

USA-AUTOS/CHURCH

“… while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has shed over half its value since October 2007, there has been no increase in weekly worship service attendance during the same time period,” Pew said.

It said  its findings were “contrary to recent media reports suggesting that the country’s economic troubles have led to higher levels of church attendance.” You can see an example of such reports here .

Pew’s graphic shows the percentage of Americans who say they attend weekly worship services held fairly steady between 36 and 42 percent from January 2007 to January 2009.

And a church attendance peak over this period of 42 percent in April 2008 coincided with a period when the Dow was making some gains.

Of course, it is probably too early to draw any firm conclusions regarding this recession and religiosity. And attempts to link economics with belief or faith are always bound to raise as many questions as they anwser. 

But Pew’s is the first serious attempt that I am aware of to plot the relationship. And it certainly suggests at this stage of the game that there is none.

(Photo: People pray for the future of the American auto industry during a special service called “A Hybrid Hope” at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan December 7, 2008. But is the recession filling the pews?  REUTERS/Carlos Barria (UNITED STATES)

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times like these are wonderful opportunities for christians to reach out to tell people the good news in difficult times.20 years ago, out of work, i cried out to an unknown god,and god made contact.my next door neighbor lost her job 1 month ago, and now she knows her lord and saviour, and realizes that he is on the thrown, and it will be ok.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive