The aging of Australian Christianity

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Forty years ago the age profile of the Australian church matched the that of the nation. Today church attenders are much older than other Australians.

According to a recent NCLS report, it was the young who first started to leave the churches in the 1960s and 1970s, and they have not returned. Now, younger generations are absent from the churches in greater numbers.

Age Profile - Aus V Church
The larger mainstream denominations are in the worst trouble. You couldn't get a more stark contrast between the Uniting Church (largest age group 70-79 years old) and the combined Pentecostal churches (largest age group 20-29 years old).

Age Profile - Uniting V Pentecostal
The mainline churches cannot sustain this age profile. As those in their 70s and 80s pass away in the next few decades, it is extremely unlikely that they will be replaced.

The trend is not inevitable. Other denominations (typically more evangelical and/or Pentecostal than the mainline) continue to have very high levels of younger people. The average age of the combined Pentecostal denominations and movements is 39 years of age. Their age profile is actually younger than the wider Australian community.

I wonder why?