By Diana Chandler
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The average age of most members of protestant faith groups is graying, a Harvard University’s broad Cooperative Election Study (CES) reveals. The average Southern Baptist adult was 55.2 years old in 2020, ranking the faith group the 13th oldest among 45 studied in the nation. Southern Baptists ranked 15th in the same study in 2008. The Lutheran- Missouri Synod has the oldest members today, with an average age of 58.7. Muslims have the youngest at 32.2.
Ryan Burge, an American Baptist pastor and Eastern Illinois University professor who writes extensively on the intersection between religiosity and political behavior, said the data is reflective of a declining birth rate among white Americans, the majority demographic among mainline religions in the U.S.
“First and foremost, it’s the fact that white people are getting older in this country. Fewer white people are being born every year,” Burge said. “The baby boomers were largely a white generation. Younger generations are less white, so a lot of these traditions are predominantly white. … I think that’s a big driver, sort of what’s going on overall in America.” [Read more…]