Many of the poorest Americans are abandoning church in numbers, a disturbing trend that is denying social and networking capital to those who need it the most, according to research findings by political scientist Ryan P. Burge of the Eastern Illinois University.
Burge’s research, which was first published by the Religion in Public blog, showed that people in the lowest income bracket according to the General Social Survey were more likely than any other not to attend church services.
The gap between the four income groups tracked by the General Social Survey has doubled from just 5 percent in the 1970s to more than 10 percent in 2018 when “a quarter of the wealthiest Americans reported never attending church while those at the bottom income bracket who never darkened a church door were over 35 percent”.
“Consider this, 40 percent of individuals who are in the bottom quartile of the income spectrum and engage in few social activities never attend church. That’s twice the rate of someone in the top income bracket who has an active social life,” Burge wrote in Christian Today.
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The gap between the poor and the rich in terms of church attendance has also spiked in recent years.
Those at the top of the income ladder have become even more social since 2000, according to the research, while those at the bottom are increasingly becoming isolated.