February 24, 2009

Elderly Observant Catholics

62%

Many of the Catholics who will be visiting their churches today, Ash Wednesday, to have their foreheads marked with ashen crosses, will be over age 65, a reflection of the fact that older Catholics are considerably more likely than their younger co-religionists to say they attend worship services regularly.

Many of the Catholics who will be visiting their churches today, Ash Wednesday, to have their foreheads marked with ashen crosses, will be over age 65, a reflection of the fact that older Catholics are considerably more likely than their younger co-religionists to say they regularly attend worship services. In general, older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to say they attend services at least once a week, but among Christian groups the age gap is particularly large for Catholics; nearly two-thirds of Catholics over age 65 (62%) say they go to church every week, compared with only about a third of Catholics under age 30 (34%). There are similar though somewhat less pronounced generational differences among all three Protestant traditions. Notable exceptions to this pattern are Mormons, Jews and Muslims, among whom younger individuals are at least as likely as their older counterparts to say they attend religious services on a weekly basis. Read More