The year 1978 is likely to be another “year of the evangelical,” according to George Gallup, Jr., the poll-taking observer of the American scene. Gallup, who recently established the Princeton Religious Research Center to monitor the American religious scene, predicted a continued upsurge of evangelical strength in his just-published Religion in America 1977–78. Gallup’s survey, based on a sample of 3,000 individuals, reveals more facts about today’s evangelicals than any comparable source: Who are they? Where do they live? What is their socioeconomic and educational profile? What denomination do they prefer?
The typical U.S. evangelical is likely to be a white female Southerner age 50 or over, with a high-school education and a modest income, the survey indicates. Gallup says about three out of ten (28 per cent) Americans, or about 40 million adults, are evangelicals—confirming a figure that is often used. This figure may be low, he points out, since “some evangelicals may not be aware of the term.” Gallup defines an evangelical as one who “has had a born again conversion, accepts Jesus as his or her personal Savior, believes the Scriptures are the authority for all doctrine, and feels an urgent duty to spread the faith.” An evangelical also places a strong emphasis on a personal relationship with God, and adheres to a strict moral code.
More than six out of ten (63 per cent) evangelicals are women, according to the survey, while 23 per cent are non-white. This suggests that a solid evangelical majority exists among blacks since blacks comprise only 11 per cent of the population. Fully half of all evangelicals reside in the South and slightly over one-fourth (27 ...1
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