Excerpts from the
May 10, 2019 edition of
The FOSTER Letter—Religious Market Update
Who is Responsible for Spiritual Formation? Church leaders
universally agree it should start with parents. 99% of Protestant
pastors, along with 96% of Catholic priests, ranked parents 1st,
followed by the Church (92% of Protestant leaders and 77% of
Catholic leaders ranked it 2nd). 70% of Protestant
pastors ranked the Christian community 3rd, and 68%
ranked schools 4th in the chain of responsibility.
Women Lead Generosity Across Race & Ethnicity
finds a new report from the
Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) called Women Give 2019:
Gender and Giving Across Communities of Color.
Households give to charity and a
donor’s race does not have a significant effect on the amount given.
Single women and married couples are more likely to give than single
Religion and basic needs are the
top 2 causes supported across race and income.
groups, single women are more likely than single men to give to
charity; married and cohabiting couples are more likely than either
single men or single women to give to charity.
Religious People Are Happier People who are active members of
a religious community are more likely than those who don’t have
those strong religious ties to describe themselves as “very happy,”
new Pew Research Center study. In America, 36% of regular
worship service attendees say they are “very happy,” compared with
25% of infrequent attendees and 25% of the religiously unaffiliated.
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Single-Parent Families of all kinds are becoming increasingly
common in the U.S. From 1880 to 1970, around 85% of U.S. children
lived with 2 parents, reports Pew Research Center, but over the past
50 years this has changed radically. In ’15, less than one-half of
U.S. children lived with 2 parents in their first marriage. In ’18,
there were more than 16 million single parents in the U.S. and 40%
of U.S. births were to unmarried women.
Church Membership in U.S. Plummets The percentage of U.S.
adults who belong to a church or other religious institution has
plunged by 20 percentage points over the past 2 decades, hitting a
low of 50% last year, according to a new Gallup poll. The biggest
drops were recorded among Democrats and Hispanics. Church membership
was 70% in 1999 and close to or higher than that for most of the 20th
century. Since then it has fallen steadily, while the percentage of
U.S. adults with no religious affiliation has jumped from 8% to 19%.
Among those identifying with a particular religion, there was a
sharp drop in church membership among Catholics (from 76% to 63%)
and Protestants (from 73% to 67%). Over the same period, church
membership among Democrats fell from 71% to 48% vs. just 77% to 69%
among Republicans. Among those 65 and older, membership in ’16-’18
averaged 64% vs. only 41% among those 18-29.
Religiously Unaffiliated Millennials According to Pew
Research Center, 35% of adult Millennials are religiously
unaffiliated. And a few more say they have no religious affiliation
compared with those who identify as evangelical Protestants (21%),
Catholics (16%) or mainline Protestants (11%).
Tax Act: Help or Hurt
Only 14% of Americans say
their federal income taxes have gone down as a result of the law,
while 21% say they have actually gone up.
43% of Americans don’t know how the law has affected their taxes.
Pre-Born Babies’ Brains show significant differences between
sexes before any parental or societal conditioning, claims a new
study published in the 4/19 edition of Develop-mental Cognitive
Neuroscience. By looking at 16 distinct networks of the brains,
the study found differences between male and female fetuses in
functional connectivity across gestational age. They concluded,
“These observations confirm that sexual dimorphism in functional
brain systems emerges during human gestation. The present study
demonstrates for the first time that development of fetal brain FC
[functional connectivity] varies with sex.” The study concluded,
“The differential development of FC over gestation in male and
female fetuses likely acts as a precursor to sex-related brain
connectivity differences observed across the
Further, the fetal
brain networks observed in the present study likely serve as the
building blocks for nascent neonatal, toddler and adult networks.”
The study shows that sexual differences in brain development come
before birth. (LifeSite
Evangelicals Are Not Keeping Pace with America’s rapidly
changing racial diversity. In ’18, about 70% people living in the
U.S. are non-Hispanic whites. However, that will dramatically change
over the next 30 years. The Census Bureau projects that between 2045
and 2050, the share of the population that is white will drop below
50%. There are 2 key driving factors: the average age of the white
population is steadily increasing faster than other racial groups
and the fertility rate of racial minorities is far higher than
whites. Yet, 70.9% of young evangelicals are white vs. 58.5% of
those under 35 who are not evangelical. While 14.1% of young
non-evangelicals are Hispanic, the rate of Hispanic evangeli-cals is
just 6.7%. For other racial groups, these disparities are less
dramatic. In fact, the share of African-Americans between the groups
is statistically the same (~15.5%).
African -Americans and
Hispanics are on the forefront of the rise of “nothing in
particular” category of religious affiliation. While 51% of white
evangelicals attend church at least once a week, for
African-Americans it’s nearly 60% and for Hispanics it’s over 66%.
For Asian Hispanics, nearly 80% attend church at least once a week.
Older Americans pulled an estimated $22 billion from
long-term savings to pay for their healthcare in the past 12 months.
Such savings withdrawals can be problematic for younger Americans,
but for seniors the impact can be severe. Many seniors are living
off long-term savings, so this can put their day-to-day solvency at
risk. The cost of prescription drugs is a large part of the cost
hindrance for seniors. Medicare projects spending $116 billion on
retail prescription drugs in ’19. An estimated 7.5 million seniors
are unable to pay for medicine prescribed to them because they don’t
have enough money. And to make the matter worse, seniors reported
that 80% of the prescriptions they cannot afford are for a somewhat
or very serious health condition.
Advertising isn’t working as it did a few years ago. TV,
radio and newspapers all bemoan the decline in ad results. “Wizard
of Ads” Roy Williams claims he’s discovered and proved that (A)
Internet surfing has trained us to disregard empty words and (B)
Relevance has become more important than repetition. The audience is
still there. What’s gone is their willingness to pay attention to
drivel. He says, to make your advertising work like it should,
you’re going to have to: (1) Talk about things your customer
actually cares about. (2)
Write your ads in a style that rings true.
(3) Avoid heroic chest thumping. “We are the number one…” is now
considered gauche and passé. (4) Close the loopholes in your ads.
Offer evidence to support what you say. (5) Be specific. Details are
more believable than generalities. (6) Deliver a real message.
Substance is more important than style. Creativity and repetition
can no longer cover up for an ad that actually says nothing. You’ve
got to have a message that matters. For an analysis of your ads
(Monday Morning Memo,
Wizard of Ads 3/5/07)
Do Porn Filters Work? Of adults in the general population,
29% “seek out” porn at least monthly. However, for those who use a
filter to block porn, 39% seek it out at least monthly. More
alarming, 54% of the general population say they “never” seek out
porn vs. 0% of filter users. All filter users say they seek out
porn! Over and over again, studies show “accountable families who
take the spiritual formation of their families seriously are
successful in passing their values on to the next generation.” Good
parenting works! (Covenant
People Leave the Church? Here are the 10 most common responses:
I got out of the habit. I left after I graduated from high school. I
decided I didn’t like the institutional church. I was hurt at
the church. I just couldn’t find a church to meet my needs. I had a
need and the church didn’t meet it. I never felt connected in the
church. I did not give to the church. I left when Pastor John
left. We moved and never went back to church.
(Thom Rainer 4/3/19)
Teen Mental Health Problems on the Rise 70% of U.S. teens say
anxiety and depression are major problems among their peers today,
according to Pew Research Center survey. According to the
National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in ’16, 12.8% of 12-17
year-olds experienced a major depressive episode in the past year,
while depression led to severe impairment for 9%.
Of teens dealing with major depression, less than
half said they’d received treatment in the last year.
Meanwhile, General Social Survey research shows happiness of those
18-34 fell to an all-time low in ’18, with 25% of young adults
reporting they’re “very happy.”
(Facts & Trends 4/4/19)
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Giving Forgiveness Exceeds Receiving It In a new Barna
study on forgiveness,
conducted in partnership with The Reimagine Group, found 76% of U.S.
practicing Christians believe they have offered unconditional,
joyful forgiveness to another person who had hurt, upset or sinned
against them (or someone they love). 15% have never offered this
level of forgiveness and 9% are unsure. Just 55% remember another
person being merciful to them in this way, with another 38%
say this has not happened and
7% don’t know. 22% report struggling with receiving forgiveness for
something they have personally done wrong.
Humanitarian Habits Of Religious People When researchers
document how people spend their hours and their money, religious
Americans look very different from others. Pew Research Center
researchers examined the behavior of a large sample of the public
across a typical 7-day period. They found that among Americans who
attend services weekly and pray daily, 45% had done volunteer work
during the previous week vs. just 27% among all other Americans.
People & Transitions:
Alcohol Consumption The World Health Organization estimates
around 2.3 billion people worldwide drink alcohol, with average per
person daily consumption at 33 grams of pure alcohol a day. That is
roughly equivalent to two 150 ml glasses of wine, a large (750 ml)
bottle of beer or two 40 ml shots of spirits.
Is America Becoming Godless? The number of people who have no
religion has risen 266% (33% of the population) in 3 decades. People
with no religion accounted for 23.1% of the U.S. population in ’18.
By comparison, Catholics make up 23% and Evangelicals account for
The three are now statistically tied as the largest religious groups
in America. (Dailey Mail
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