In graduate school, one of my “outside” fields was economic anthropology. I came to think you could understand a lot about any society by how people spent their average day.
In today’s world, I don’t think there is enough study of how people’s everyday life is changing and how the changes affect other things, such a religion. Today there was a nice article that at least touched the surface of this.
The article made an assumption church affiliation helped people assimilate into a new community when they moved. Since moving from one place to another was the upward mobile path for many decades following WWII, churches were important to people.
The new circumstances are that young people are not moving as much. Therefore, they don’t see the need for churches like their parents did.
I’d suggest there are other overlooked variables, too. One is people are working more hours and more often take work home. Fewer leisure hours make each hour more valuable. Something has to get crowded out. Surely for some, it’s church.
It seems like later marriage might be bad for church life. If as young single people church is not a “habit”, when marriage comes along the pattern of no church is several years old.
These variables of not moving, more hours of work and later marriage seem like long term structural changes in daily life. If they are permanent, that is, last several decades, their affect on society’s institutions, like the church, will last just as long.