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Special Feature: Religious activity
MINISTERS OF RELIGION, 1991
Age and sex
In 1991, the median age of ministers of religion was 46 years, considerably higher than the median age of all employed people (36 years), reflecting the fact that many people join the ministry after first working in other occupations. Catholic and Uniting Church ministers had median ages over 50 years while Jehovah's Witness and Jewish clergy (of which there were few in total) had median ages under 40 years. Both the Catholic and Uniting Churches had high proportions of their ministers aged 55 years or over (43% and 39% respectively), together with relatively low proportions under 35 years (10% and 8% respectively) suggesting they may face a future low replacement rate in their ministries.
Ministers of religion are predominantly male, reflecting the male-oriented traditions of most faiths. The Salvation Army was the only exception in 1991 with over half of its ministers being female. This, in part, reflects the fact that when Salvation Army officers are ordained, their spouses also become officers. Between 1986 and 1991 there was a slight increase in the proportion of ministers who were female, from 13% to 15%.
In 1991, 26 per cent of all ministers of religion had been born overseas. However, the proportion of overseas born ministers varied between religions and denominations. Of the religious groups examined, Salvation Army (14%) and Jehovah's Witness (18%) ministers were the least likely to have been born overseas, while Judaism (61%) and Orthodox (86%) had the highest proportions of overseas born ministers. While this is obviously related to the proportions of overseas born adherents (see Trends in religious affiliation), it may also be related to the absence of Australian based training courses for some religious groups.
Religious groups vary in the training requirements for their clergy and not all training will necessarily lead to a qualification. In 1991, 16% of ministers counted in the Census had no recognised post-school qualifications, 28% held a degree and 12% had post-graduate qualifications as their highest post-school qualification. There was considerable variation between the religious groups examined. Seventh Day Adventist, Uniting Church, Lutheran and Presbyterian and Reformed ministers were most likely to have a degree or higher qualification, while Jehovah's Witness, Salvation Army and Pentecostal were the least likely. A large proportion (22%) of ministers either did not adequately describe or did not state their level of qualification. This may indicate that, to some extent, the type of training received by ministers was difficult to classify in terms of the common levels of educational attainment.
Many ministers had gained their highest qualification in a field other than religious studies although, in some cases, this qualification would have been gained before entering the ministry. In 1991, apart from religious studies, society and culture and education were the most common fields of study in which ministers were qualified.
QUALIFICATIONS OF MINISTERS, 1991
The work of ministers of religion ranges from their specific religious and administrative duties to the broader activities associated with the pastoral care of parishioners. As such many ministers work long hours although some may not consider all their activities as work. In 1991, 55% of ministers worked more than 48 hours week, considerably higher than the 15% of all employed persons who worked those hours, and also higher than the 48% of doctors who worked more than 48 hours a week.28% of ministers worked 40 hours a week or less compared to 71% of all employed persons. Part of the difference in the pattern of hours worked between ministers of religion and all employed persons is related to the different patterns of full-time and part-time work. 15% of ministers worked part-time compared to 26% of all employed persons.
Long hours of work were undertaken by ministers in most denominations. 67% of Lutheran ministers and 64% of Catholic ministers worked 49 or more hours a week, as did 59% of Anglican and Presbyterian and Reformed ministers. For most other denominations the proportion of ministers working 49 hours a week or more was closer to half. 72% of Jehovah's Witness ministers worked 40 hours or less a week, accounted for in large part by the fact that 44% of Jehovah's Witness ministers worked part-time.
HOURS WORKED BY MINISTERS, 1991
In spite of working long hours, ministers of religion generally have low incomes. In 1991, 41% of ministers had an annual income of $16,000 or less and 6% had over $35,000. Again, there was considerable variation between the different religious groups. Over 90% of Salvation Army and Jehovah's Witness ministers had an annual income of $16,000 or less as did 84% of Catholic clergy. In contrast, less than 10% of Seventh Day Adventist, Uniting Church and Lutheran ministers had annual incomes in this category. 49% of Jewish clergy and 11% of Anglican clergy had annual incomes of $35,000 or more. Low incomes should be interpreted in the context of some ministers receiving income in kind such as food, car and housing.
INCOME OF MINISTERS, 1991
Religious activities of people
The Time Use Survey conducted in 1992 provides data on the time spent on religious activities by people aged 15 years and over. While it is not possible to calculate rates of participation in religious activity from the survey, nor to determine the religious affiliation of respondents, the data can be used to examine the types of activities pursued and the characteristics of participants. Some of these religious activities involve unpaid religious work and as such are a useful complement to the information on ministers of religion. In 1992, 10% of people reporting some form of religious activity were undertaking religious administration. The time spent per day by these people averaged almost two hours.
Of the people who reported spending time on religious activities, the vast majority (85%) were involved in the practice of their religion. They were almost three times more likely to practice their religion on weekends than during the week. On average, participants spent slightly more time on religious practice on weekends than on weekdays, 97 minutes a day compared to 84 minutes, respectively.
Although women were more likely to spend time on religious activities than men, those men who spent time on religious activities spent more time on them than women, 126 minutes a day on average for men compared to 93 minutes a day for women. However, women spent more time than men, on average, on religious administration, 128 minutes a day compared to 95.
The 1991 Census found that older people were more likely to report a religious affiliation than younger people. Correspondingly, the Time Use Survey found that they were more likely to be involved in religious activities, with people aged 60 years and over accounting for 30% of those participating in religious activities but only 15% of the total population. However, older participants devoted less time on average to their religious activity than younger participants. In 1992, participants aged 60 years and over spent an average of 91 minutes a day on religious activity compared to 94 minutes for the 45-59 years age group, 115 minutes for 25-44 year olds and 144 minutes for 15-24 year olds.
PROPORTION OF PARTICIPANTS IN RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES AGED 15 YEARS AND OVER AND AVERAGE DAILY TIME SPENT, 1992
Source: Time Use Survey