Blog Post by
Rev. Dr. Craig M. Howard
This week, people will be coming and going to various destinations across the country. Marilyn and I will be driving to Chicago to have Thanksgiving at my sister’s home in the south suburbs. I am already getting the traffic reports which determine the days and times to avoid driving, not that it matters! You gotta go when you gotta go!
During the holidays, many people are returning home or visiting relatives and friends in a different part of the country. Pew Research came up with the following data regarding who moves, who stays, and where they go. The data is from 2008, so it is dated, but I’m sure many of the trends are still relevant.
- Nearly half of the adult residents in the Midwest say they have spent their entire lives in their hometown. This compares to one-third of those in the Western states.
- Cities, suburbs and small towns have more movers than stayers. Rural areas are more evenly split.
- Three-quarters of college graduates have moved at least once. College graduates also move longer distances and move more often than Americans with high school diplomas or less.
- Employment plays the biggest role in the decision to move. The most affluent Americans are the most likely to have moved.
- People move less as they get older.
- Two career couples move less because it is more difficult to find work for both spouses in a new location.
For some of us these statements ring truer than for others. Let me share one more list of statistics from the same Pew study. They asked the question, “Where do you call home?” For U.S. born adults who have lived in at least one place besides their original hometown:
- 26% say it’s where they were born or raised.
- 22% say it’s where they live now.
- 18% say it’s where they have lived the longest.
- 15% say it’s where their family comes from.
- 4% say it’s where they went to high school.
How do these numbers help you understand the trends in your church? How can these trends help you to plan for your church’s future?
As you travel or host this Thanksgiving, may you be in the place you call home, or with people you call family and community. And may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, Love of God, and communion of the Holy Spirit be with you this Thanksgiving season.
Rev. Craig M. Howard