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What the Polls Don't Show: A Closer Look at U.S. Church Attendance

C. Kirk Hadaway, Penny Long Marler and Mark Chaves
American Sociological Review
Vol. 58, No. 6 (Dec., 1993), pp. 741-752
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095948
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
What the Polls Don't Show: A Closer Look at U.S. Church Attendance
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Abstract

Characterizations of religious life in the United States typically reference poll data on church attendance. Consistently high levels of participation reported in these data suggest an exceptionally religious population, little affected by secularizing trends. This picture of vitality, however, contradicts other empirical evidence indicating declining strength among many religious institutions. Using a variety of data sources and data collection procedures, we estimate that church attendance rates for Protestants and Catholics are, in fact, approximately one-half the generally accepted levels.

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