Christ / College / Culture / January 30, 2006

By the Numbers

The Ivy Jungle Network recently put out its monthly Campus Ministry Update for January. Here are some interesting statistics from this month’s trends:

Cohabiting:  40% of Americans believe it is “a good idea for a couple who intend to get married to live together first.” However, almost a quarter (22%) of those claiming to be evangelical Christians also believe it is a good idea.  (Christianity Today January 2006 p. 20)

Young Adult Statistics:  Just over half of men and women ages 18-24 have returned home to live with their parents.   About 25% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 35 grew up in divorced homes.  Two thirds of those who did, say they feel like they grew up in two different families.  Less than 25% of 18-29 year olds read a newspaper regularly.  (Touchstone January/February 2006 p. 55)

College Women Pray More:  Not surprising in a world of tests and challenges, most college students say that they do pray.  Nearly 75% of female college students say that they pray, compared with 62% of male college students (Christianity Today January 2006 p. 20)

Women More Religious:  A study by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute shows that female college students outscore men on 11 of 12 metrics of religion and spirituality.  Men scored highest in skepticism, but women pray more, have more charitable involvement, religious commitment and pray more often.  Another study of mainline churches shows that women outnumber men significantly.  In more conservative denominations, the ratio of men to women in congregations is more even.   Many of the conservative churches do not have/allow female clergy.  One theory behind the difference is an emphasis on competition to win souls and spiritual rigor among conservative groups, while mainline groups appeal to a more therapeutic approach favored by women.  (Touchstone December 2005)

Post Seminary Debt:  According to a study by Asbury Seminary, two thirds of those graduating with a Master of Divinity are in debt and stressed about it.  The average debt was $25,000, with many students still owing for their undergraduate studies on top of that.   Financially stressed graduates say they have skipped payments, postponed health care or taken second jobs to make ends meet.   About one-third have changed careers out of ministry.  (Touchstone January/February 2006 p. 57)

Those Poor College Students:  According to a survey of undergraduates in the New York City area, 16% spend more than $50 on a first date.  26% have jeans that cost more than $100.  While only 26% would sell their i-pods to raise cash, 63% would sell their books (obviously not understanding the diminished return on those investments).  In spite of some bleak economists’ reports, 59% say they still expect to earn more than their parents.  (Chicago Tribune, Education Life January 8, 2006 p. 7)   


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