Explanations of changes in church attendance between 1970 and 2009

Erik van Ingen, J.A. Moor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

We deduce hypotheses from theories on religious change to explain changes in church attendance rates. Using a new dataset with 51 countries across a long period we apply panel regression models, which enable us to test well-known theories in a more strict and dynamic fashion than do cross-sectional studies.
Our results provide new evidence for a few old ideas, but also show striking lack of evidence for ideas that appear well-accepted. Tertiary education proved to be a strong predictor of changes in church attendance. Theories about individualization were also supported. The evidence of existential insecurity as a cause of change was ambiguous: economic development and life expectancy showed significant effects but income inequality did not. We found no support for theories on social globalization and social benefit policy. Finally, we found that income inequality and urbanization were driving forces of change during the 70s and 80s, but not since 1990.
Keywords: Secularization, Rationalization, Individualization, Religiosity, Longitudinal, Cross-national
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-569
JournalSocial Science Research
Volume52
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Secularization
  • Rationalization
  • Individualization
  • Religiosity
  • Longitudinal
  • Cross-national

Cite this

van Ingen, Erik ; Moor, J.A. / Explanations of changes in church attendance between 1970 and 2009. In: Social Science Research. 2015 ; Vol. 52. pp. 558-569.
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Explanations of changes in church attendance between 1970 and 2009. / van Ingen, Erik; Moor, J.A.

In: Social Science Research, Vol. 52, 2015, p. 558-569.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Moor, J.A.

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AB - We deduce hypotheses from theories on religious change to explain changes in church attendance rates. Using a new dataset with 51 countries across a long period we apply panel regression models, which enable us to test well-known theories in a more strict and dynamic fashion than do cross-sectional studies.Our results provide new evidence for a few old ideas, but also show striking lack of evidence for ideas that appear well-accepted. Tertiary education proved to be a strong predictor of changes in church attendance. Theories about individualization were also supported. The evidence of existential insecurity as a cause of change was ambiguous: economic development and life expectancy showed significant effects but income inequality did not. We found no support for theories on social globalization and social benefit policy. Finally, we found that income inequality and urbanization were driving forces of change during the 70s and 80s, but not since 1990.Keywords: Secularization, Rationalization, Individualization, Religiosity, Longitudinal, Cross-national

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