Glossary of Barna's Theolographics & Demographics


When Barna conducts and reports on research, we use terms and phrases to describe generations, socio-economic groups, or faith segments; to measure behaviors like church engagement; or to classify individuals or groups according to religious beliefs and behaviors. To help you navigate these terms, here’s a comprehensive list of the definitions we use:

Generations:

  • Gen Z: Born between 1999 and 2015
  • Millennial: Born between 1984 and 1998
  • Buster/Gen-X: Born between 1965 and 1983
  • Boomer: Born between 1946 and 1964
  • Elder: Born before 1946

Faith Affiliation:

  • Self-ID Christians: Individuals have self-identified as Christian or identify with a Christian denomination in this segment.
  • Practicing Christian: Individuals in this segment identify with a Christian denomination, attend a worship service at least once a month, and say their faith is very important in their life.
  • Born again: Individuals qualify as born again if they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today and believe that when they die, they will go to Heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Individuals were not asked to self-describe as “born again” or as “Christian.”

The Faith Continuum:

  • Legacy Evangelical: Legacy evangelical is a sub-segment of Born Again. Therefore, in order to qualify as a Legacy Evangelical, individuals must meet the criteria of being Born Again (see criteria listed above) plus seven additional criteria. Legacy evangelicals must (1) say their faith is very important in their life, (2) believe they have a personal responsibility to share their about their faith with others, (3) believe that Satan exists, (4) believe that Jesus Christ came to earth and lived a sinless life, (5) assert that the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings, (6) believe that salvation comes only through grace, not works, (7) and believe that God is the omniscient, omnipotent, creator of the universe who still rules the world today. Being classified as Legacy Evangelical is not dependent on church attendance or denominational affiliation. Individuals were not asked to self-describe as “evangelical” or as “Christian.”
  • Non-evangelical, Born Again: This segment is sub-segment of Born Again. To qualify, an individual must meet the criteria of Born Again (see criteria described above), but he or she does not meet the additional criteria to be classified as a Legacy Evangelical (see criteria described above).
  • Notional Christians: Individuals in this segment identify with a Christian denomination, but do not meet the criteria of Born Again (see criteria described above).
  • Other faith: Individuals in this segment identify with a non-Christian faith.
  • No faith: Individuals in this segment identify as agnostic, atheist, or as having no faith.

Church Engagement:

Churchgoers: Have attended church in the past month.

Churched: Have attended church within the past 6 months

  • Very active: Have attended a church service in the past seven days (week), not including a special event such as a wedding or a funeral.
  • Somewhat active: Have attended a service within the past month, but not within the past week
  • Minimally active: Have attended a service within the past six months, but not within the past month

Unchurched:

  • Dechurched: Formerly attended church but have not attended in the past six months.
  • Never churched: Have never attended a church service.

Secularized / Post-Christian:

All US adults are categorized as either, High, Moderate, or Low on the Secularized scale. Individuals are considered to be post-Christian if they meet the criteria for being highly or moderately secularized.

  • Secularized, High: Meet at least 13 of following criteria
  • Secularized, Moderate: Meet at least 9 of following criteria, but less than 13
  • Secularized, Low: Meet fewer than 9 or none of the following criteria
  1. Disagree strongly or somewhat that their faith is important in their life
  2. Identify as atheist or agnostic
  3. Faith Tribe: Skeptic
  4. Unchurched (have not attended a Christian church in the past six months)
  5. Have not prayed to God (past week)
  6. Have not read the Bible (past week)
  7. Have not volunteered at church (past week)
  8. Have not attended an adult Sunday school (past week)
  9. Have not attended a small group (past week)
  10. Have not donated any money to a church (past 12 months)
  11. Do not participate in a house church
  12. Do not believe in God
  13. Disagree strongly or somewhat that the Bible is accurate
  14. Have never made a personal commitment to Jesus
  15. Agree strongly or somewhat that Jesus committed sins
  16. Disagree strongly or somewhat that they have a responsibility to share their faith
  17. Bible engagement scale: low (have not read the Bible in the past week and disagree strongly or somewhat that the Bible is accurate)

General Terms:

NPO: Non-profit organization

Bible Minded:

These categories are the aggregate of respondents’ beliefs about and reading habits of the Bible:

  • Read Bible + accurate (agree strongly): read the Bible within the past seven days and who agrees strongly that the Bible is accurate
  • Read Bible + less accurate: read the Bible within the past seven days but do not agree strongly that the Bible is accurate
  • Do not read Bible + accurate: have not read the Bible within the past seven days but who agree strongly or somewhat that the Bible is accurate
  • Do not read Bible + less accurate: have not read the Bible within the past seven days and who disagree strongly or somewhat that the Bible is accurate.

Socioeconomic:

Downscale: Adults with an annual household income of $20,000 or less and who do not hold a college degree
Upscale: Adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or more and who do hold a college degree

Geography:

US Minor Regions

New England: Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont (CT, ME, RI, MA, NH, VT)

Middle Atlantic: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York (NJ, PA, NY)

East North Central: Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin (OH, IL, IN, MI, WI)

West North Central: Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota (MN, NE, MO, KS, IA, SD, ND)

South Atlantic: North Carolina, West Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina, District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware (NC, WV, FL, GA, VA, SC, DC, MD, DE)

East South Central: Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee (AL, MS, KY, TN)

West South Central: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma (TX, LA, AR, OK)

Mountain: Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada (ID, CO, WY, UT, MT, AZ, NM, NV)

Pacific: Washington, California, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska (WA, CA, OR, HI, AK)

US Major Regions

Northeast: New England, Middle Atlantic (CT, ME, RI, MA, NH, VT, NJ, PA, NY)

South: South Atlantic, East South Central, West South Central (NC, WV, FL, GA, VA, SC, DC, MD, DE, AL, MS, KY, TN, TX, LA, AR, OK)

Midwest: East North Central, West North Central (OH, IL, IN, MI, WI, MN, NE, MO, KS, IA, SD, ND)

West: Mountain, Pacific (ID, CO, WY, UT, MT, AZ, NM, NV, WA, CA, OR, HI, AK)

Your cart
Close
Clear Cart
Total
Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.