Study links faith to life expectancy

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The Independent Online

Church leaders should accept that their congregations are getting older because people living in countries with high life expectancies tend to defer religion until later in life, a report has found.

A joint study by economists at the University of East Anglia and the University of St Andrews looked into the effect that life expectancy has on whether – and when – people adopt a faith. In countries with low life expectancies people tend to embrace faith earlier in their lives, while people in the developed world often wait until thoughts of an afterlife become more relevant.

"Religious organisations should be prepared to accept and attract a 'greying church' with membership skewed towards the older generation," said Dr Elissaios Papyrakis, one of the report's authors.