From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Special Heartland Study Reveals Religious Shifting

Date 04 May 1996 16:05:56


96047   Special Heartland Study Reveals Religious Shifting 
            by George H. Gallup Jr. and Robert Bezilla 
           Produced by New York Times Special Features 
           Distributed by United Methodist News Service 
PRINCETON, N.J.--The Midwest has always mirrored national survey findings 
on religion, and a recent study in central Ohio appears to reaffirm that 
overall image. 
     Beneath the surface of traditional beliefs and religious attitudes, 
the survey reveals a region in which many people have intensified their 
religious practice since childhood, and a pattern of denominational 
switching that has led many away from the faith of their upbringing. 
     The study was conducted late last year by the Columbus Dispatch, 
WBNS-TV and the Gallup Poll. 
     Most people in central Ohio mirror the beliefs of people throughout 
their region and America -- nearly all believe in God and heaven and hell. 
Many think there are angels and miracles, but fewer now believe in the 
     Six in 10 of the adults say religion is very important in their own 
lives, a slightly higher percentage than the Midwestern and national 
averages.  Somewhat fewer people in central Ohio (52 percent) say religion 
was very important in their family household when they were growing up. 
     For some in the area, religion may be a more private affair, with 62 
percent claiming formal religious affiliation and 36 percent reporting 
worship service attendance during the past week.  Both figures are 
significantly lower than the national and Midwestern averages. 
     Most people in central Ohio say they were baptized in their current 
faith (85 percent).  Overall, 64 percent state a Protestant denomination as 
a preference, 21 percent are Roman Catholic and just 1 percent are Jewish. 
This represents greater Protestant representation and a lower Roman 
Catholic presence than is true for both region and nation. 
     About two Ohioans in three (69 percent) say their preference always 
has been the same, but almost a third (31 percent) report they were raised 
in another faith. 
     The discrepancy in figures between the 85 percent who say they were 
baptized in their current faith and 69 percent who say their preference has 
always been the same suggests that a good number either have received adult 
baptism or have been re-baptized when switching faiths. 
     Four adults in 10 (41 percent) say they are born-again or evangelical 
Christians, which is slightly above regional (37 percent) and national (39 
percent) averages.  Just 14 percent consider themselves members of the 
religious right movement. 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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