Dropping Out Of Church
Two-thirds of all Australians over the age of 50 remember a time when they attended a church frequently when they were children. Among Australians aged between 30 and 50, approximately half have that memory. But among Australians under the age of 30, less than 30 per cent remember attending church frequently.
A recent survey of Australians shows that, while less children are now attending church and most are doing so with their parents, the retention rates remain low. Of those young people currently in their 20s who attended church frequently as children, only 28 per cent continue to attend frequently, 34 per cent attend occasionally, and 39 per cent have ceased to attend altogether.
These figures are very similar to those Australians now in their 60s. Thirty-one per cent of these older people who attended church as children continue to attend church frequently, 36 per cent attend occasionally and 33 per cent never attend.
Some recent studies have suggested that children are making decisions about attending or not attending church much earlier than previously. While many children used to cease attending in their middle teenage years,some are now making such decisions at the end of primary school.
For more detail of the data, analysis of the patterns, and a brief review of some of the factors in attendance or non-attendance, see Pointers Vol. 21, no. 4.