Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down?

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down? September 22, 2014


The recently released National Congregations Study has offered up a variety of data on changing trends in American houses of worship when it comes to the treatment of gays and lesbians and overarching demographics, but there’s one data point that hasn’t been given as much attention: the decline of choirs.

Church choirs have always been a tradition at American houses of worship, but among the 1,331 churches, synagogues, temples and other religious institutions that the National Congregations Study surveyed in 2012, a steep decline was observed in the presence of these musical bodies.

During the first wave of the study in 1998, 72 percent of respondents reported worshipping at a location that included a choir. But in 2012 that proportion dipped to 57 percent; it was found to be at 58 percent in the 2006-2007 wave, perhaps showcasing that the decline has leveled off somewhat over the past seven years, the New York Times reported.

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