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The Pew Internet and American Life Project, sponsored by the Pew Center for Research, surveyed 1,309 congregations with Web sites in December 2000 to gather data about who was using the Web to get spiritual information and what kind of information was available. Some of the results:

Religion is popular



• 20 percent of Internet users in the United States get religious and spiritual information online, making it more popular than online banking (18 percent of Internet users) or online auctions (15 percent).

• About 20 million people sought spiritual information over the Internet between October and December 2000.

• 2 million people in the United States seek religious information online each day.

Users aren't homogeneous



• Middle-aged African-American women (and other middle-aged women) are the most likely to seek religious information on the Internet.

• Wired African Americans are 65 percent more likely than whites who go online to seek religious materials on the Web.

• Those seeking religious materials online are 26 percent of Internet users (in the South), 22 percent (the Midwest), 20 percent (the West), and 14 percent (the Northeast).

Clergy keep clicking



• 81 percent of clergy use the Internet to gain information for worship services.

• 77 percent seek information from the Bible or other religious books online.

• 72 percent use Internet devotional resources.

• 57 percent have learned about other denominations and faiths online.

Keeping in touch



• 82 percent of clergy use e-mail to connect with parishioners

• 45 percent of clergy use e-mail to communicate with colleagues at other churches.

• 25 percent of clergy send e-mails containing spiritual instruction to church members frequently.

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In the Magazine

February 19, 2001

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