I subscribe to Philip Hughes Christian Research Association journal “Pointers”. For those who like statistics, there are wonderful facts and figures that make you “go figure”. This graph above is based on material collected from the 2006 Census and the 2002 Wellbeing and Security Survey.
The original in Pointers only had the first two categories: Percentage of Australians who Identify with a Christian Denomination and Percentage of Australians who attend Christian Worship Monthly or More. I have added in the third category, corelating the two figures, because I noticed a difference in the “trend” of both worshipping and identifying. You will see that there is not a smooth decline in the percentage of identifiers who also attend in the under 65 age groups. Rather, more of those who identify with Christianity in the 25 to 34’s and 45 to 54’s actually attend regularly than of those who identify in the 15 to 24’s and 35 to 44’s.
I wonder why? Or is there no meaning to this?
In any case, there are clear declines in the under 65’s in all categories. Hughes puts this down to the radical societal changes of the 60’s and 70’s. He is probably right. Take 40 years of the age group and you will see the correlation. Also, I wonder too whether the higher attendance rate for the +65’s isn’t as much to do with community as faith? I think of my parents, who were in their mid 20’s in the 1960’s, and for whom all their social life was around the Church. Nothing has changed, and it still is the centre of their social life now that they are in their mid-60’s. For younger folk, there is obviously today many more social opportunities.