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Diversity rises, turnout declines.

WACO, TEXAS * The more mixed the Sunday morning pews are, the fewer people are likely to be in them. That's the primary finding of a new study from Baylor University published in the current Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Researchers studied the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, where racial diversity doubled from 1993 to 2012, and found that, at the same time, churches with the greatest diversity growth also had the steepest declines in attendance.

The study also found:

* Rises in racial diversity were associated with declines in weekly attendance, especially in the 1990s.

* Older congregations were more likely to see a decline in attendance.

* Congregations in predominantly white communities were more likely to grow.

The study was conducted among more than 11,000 congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran church and used data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Title Annotation:church attendance in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U7TX
Date:May 20, 2016
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