According to Ryan Burge, a political scientist and preacher associated with the American Baptist Church, American churches have turned into havens for well-educated, married, middle-class families with children. Burge’s conclusions are based on a recent examination of data that scrutinized factors like income, education and relationship status. The data used in the analysis comes from the Nationscape survey, which gathered responses from 477,000 participants, and the Cooperative Election Study, a YouGov-administered nationwide survey involving over 50,000 individuals selected through a stratified sampling method. Burge, who is an associate professor at Eastern Illinois University, is renowned for his research on religion in the U.S. Burge highlights a noteworthy trend where religious affiliation rises in tandem with education levels, specifically pointing out that individuals holding a master’s degree exhibit the highest level of religious affiliation.
The Christian Post reports:
America’s churches have become enclaves for highly educated, married, middle-class families with children, and that’s troubling for democracy, according to political scientist and lay preacher with the American Baptist Church Ryan Burge.
Burge’s findings are based on a recent analysis of data analyzing measures such as education, income and relationship status. The data is derived from studies such as the Nationscape survey, which includes responses from 477,000 respondents, and the Cooperative Election Study, “a 50,000+ person national stratified sample survey administered by YouGov.”
Burge, an associate professor at Eastern Illinois University known for researching data on religion in the United States, concluded that “increasingly religion has become the enclave for those who have lived a ‘proper’ life.”
“These results are hard to ignore and should sound some major alarms for any person of faith who is concerned about the large state of American society,” he writes in his analysis. “College degree, middle class income, married with children. If you check all those boxes, the likelihood of you regularly attending church is about double the rate of folks who don’t.”
He notes that religious affiliation increases as education increases, citing that “the group with the highest level of religious affiliation are those with a master’s degree.”
Burge contends that the shrinking middle class, which makes up some 50% of the American population, is most likely to be attending church services weekly.
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