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Any Given Sunday: Weekly Church Attendance in a Midwestern City

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I analyze the weekly attendance figures from 71 Protestant churches from across the conservative-to-liberal spectrum in a Midwestern city using multilevel modeling (HLM 6.0). The impact on attendance of factors that are experienced by all churches in the city (bad weather, summer, religious holidays, and secular holidays) and factors unique to individual churches (size, if the church is liturgical or nonliturgical, and denominational affiliation) are assessed to determine if all churches experience similar week-to-week fluctuations or if differences exist based on congregational factors. I interpret the results in light of rational choice theory and the strict church hypothesis in an effort to explain changes in church attendance from one week to the next.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Paul J. Olson is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Briar Cliff University.

Publication date: September 1, 2008


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