US church attendance overstated

The following appeared in the "Boston Globe," Sat 16 Jan 99, p. A3:

[excerpts only, to avoid copyright violation]

Researchers find that many poll respondents exaggerate religious involvement

By Karen Owen



"For decades, sociologists and journalists have repeated public opinion polls reporting 40 percent of Americans attend a worship service once a week. That is far higher than in most other Western nations."


This figure was challenged by C. Kirk Hadaway and Penny Long Marler, writing in "Christian Century" "last year" (1998). In 1993, they "consulted pastors and did head counts at Protestant religious services in Ashtabula County, Ohio. They also checked attendance figures at several Catholic dioceses around the country."

"What they found was closer to 20 percent worship attendance than 40 percent, writes Andrew Walsh in 'Religion in the News.'"


"Some reasons found for inflated poll figures include":

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