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The Spiritual Attitudes of the New Generations

The Spiritual Attitudes of the New Generations

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Published by emily572
An in-depth analysis of the spiritual attitudes of the younger generations.
An in-depth analysis of the spiritual attitudes of the younger generations.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: emily572 on Sep 15, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Spiritual Attitudes of The New Generations
© 2009 McCrindle Research
61 2 8824 3422
The Research:
Most youth research is marketing researchthat attempts to uncover which advertisement,
brand, or avour will sell best. Some important
attributes of the emerging generations:
their life aspirations, spiritual interests, andattitudes to the church are rarely researcheddue to the limited commercial application of such ndings. Due to the scarcity of such
research, many church groups are making
decisions based on anecdotal evidence, or past experience. Therefore this study focusedon these little researched yet important areas.The discussion groups dealt with attitudes tospirituality, God, Christianity, and the Church.
This study concurredwith other Australianand overseas researchwhich shows a generationof young adults moresocially connected throughtechnology, yet in searchof authentic community,greater meaning in life,and spiritual connection. It
also fnds that traditional
church, while offering realsolutions in these essentialareas is poorly perceived bythe emerging generations.
The focus group discussions found ways inwhich the church could adjust styles to better 
engage with this next generation direct quotes
from the Gen Y respondents are includedthroughout this report.
The Need:
There is a lack of solid Australian social researchconcerning young adults and issues of faith.
In addition to this are misconceptions which
abound regarding the younger generations.For example while it is true that the BabyBoomers (born from 1946-1964 as dened bythe Australian Bureau of Statistics) mark the
highest birth rates, it is not the case that there
are fewer young people today compared to thepast.The Australian birth rate has been in decline
for decades, however it has been coming from
a larger population base and there are actually
higher birth numbers today than at the peak
of the baby boom in the late 1950’s and early1960’s. In 1960 Australia’s population was justover 10 million with a fertility rate of 3.5. By2010, the population had more than doubled to22 million while the birth rate had slumped to1.9 babies per woman (www.abs.gov.au).
% of population% of church attendees*
Buildersprior to 1946late 60s to 80s14%27%Boomers1946-1964late 40s to mid 60s24%36%Generation x1965-197930s and 40s21%17%Generation y1980-1995older teens and 20s21%11%Generation zafter 1995children and teenagers20%9%
* Does not include infants or children aged under 6.
61 2 8824 3422
The worldwide demographics are even morestaggering. In Australia those aged under 25comprise 34% of the population while globallythe under 25’s comprise more than 50% of thetotal population. Therefore we now have thebiggest generation of adolescents in historywith 1.2 billion people aged between 10 and19. There have never been more young peoplealive. Keep in mind that in 1960 the worldpopulation had just hit 3 billion, while by 2012it will exceed 7 billion.It is true that as a population we are ageingin that we are living longer: today boys areexpected to live to 77.4 years, and girls to 82.6
years. A century ago it was 55.2 years and58.8 years respectively. In 2042 it is projectedto be 82.5 and 87.5 (
Intergenerational Report 
2007). As a result, our median age has beenrising, from 29 in 1983, to 37 today. However the actual age demographics challenge thewidespread perceptions of less young adultstoday compared to the past.
The need for the church to channel resourcesto better engage with today’s generation of young adults comes not just because of their demographic size, but also because of their lifestage, and the openness they have to spiritualissues.The Australian research conrms this. TheNational Church Life Survey found that the“spiritual seekers” were mainly younger people: “While newcomers may be of any age,they are much more likely to be in their 20’sand 30’s” (Kaldor, Bellamy, Powell).
This project involved running a series of focusgroups in Sydney and Melbourne. Participantsranged in age from 17 to 26 and ranged in lifestage from Year 12 to those having completedpost-secondary education and commenced acareer. No participants were actively attendingchurch although they varied in their churchexperience from no involvement to some pastattendance.
 Australia is simultaneouslyexperiencing the ageing ofthe population and a minibaby boom. Our average agehas never been higher (37)while the number of babiesborn per annum has neverbeen greater (296,000).
61 2 8824 3422

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