Monday, December 9, 2013
The Associated Press
FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Two of every five northeast Indiana residents are members of a religious group, temple, parish or congregation, but that number was down 9 percent in a decade, continuing a trend of declining membership, a study says.
The 2010 U.S. Congregational Membership Report shows membership in faith groups -- from mainline Protestant denominations to Islamic temples to Jewish temples -- dropped by more than 25,000 in the region between 2000 and 2010.
The report, released in May, was produced by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies and includes statistics for 236 religious groups, by county, across the United States.
The drop in membership in northeast Indiana reflected drops statewide and nationwide but was more pronounced than either of those.
While membership was down 9 percent over the decade of the report here, it was down 5 percent for all of Indiana and 2 percent nationally.
Those numbers were part of a longer-term trend: From 1990 to 2010, membership was down 7 percent in northeast Indiana.
Donald W. Mitchell, a Purdue University philosophy professor and an expert on interfaith relations and religious traditions, said the numbers reflect a move away from traditional, membership-based faith activities and toward a more spiritual life.