China / Society

Religious worshippers are getting younger

By XU WEI (China Daily) Updated: 2015-07-09 07:17

Religious worshippers are getting younger

Muslims worship at a mosque in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Monday.[WANG ZHUANGFEI/CHINA DAILY]

China's religious followers are becoming younger, with more than half of worshippers under 60 years old, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The China Religious Survey, conducted by researchers at Renmin University of China, found that the age range of the country's religious followers has undergone profound changes over the past decades as now a majority of believers are under 60 years old, with Islam having the largest number of followers under 30.

The researchers polled 4,383 religious venues in 243 counties or districts across the country between the second half of 2013 and the first half of 2015.

"However, people with a low degree of education remain a dominant group among all the followers, with only 5 percent of the followers having college degrees or above," said Wei Dedong, vice-dean of the school of philosophy at the university and a leading researcher.

More than 43 percent of religious followers received primary school education or less.

The survey focused on the five most influential religions in China: Buddhism, Taoism, Protestantism, Catholicism and Islam.

Meanwhile, a majority of the clergy are now aged between 30 and 60.

Of the leaders of religious venues, 21 percent are women and 15 percent have bachelor's degrees or higher.

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