A new study of U.S. religious congregations by a Duke University sociologist shows significant changes in the racial composition of churches within just nine years.
Mark Chaves' National Congregations Study finds that predominantly white churches are welcoming more Hispanics, Asians and blacks. The study, conducted last year among 1,506 congregations, raises challenges to the adage that 11 a.m. Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week.
As the nation gets ready to inaugurate its first black president, the study suggests a growing acceptance of black people in mostly white congregations. "This is movement in a positive direction," said Chaves.
In Chaves' study, the number of people in predominantly white congregations with some Hispanics grew to 56 percent from 49 percent in 1998. Likewise, the number of people in predominantly white congregations with some Asians grew to 44 percent from 38 percent in 1998.
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