By Christy Barritt
Americans Get Enough Sleep
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released their annual Time Use Survey in June, and their results on the sleep habits of Americans surprised many.
According to the survey, Americans aged 15 and up on average sleep a total of 8 hours and 45 minutes daily. The number was consistent across a variety of demographic categories. The only difference was among the unemployed, who on average slept an hour longer than their employed counterparts.
According to the survey, no subgroup gets fewer than 8 hours of sleep per night, not even people with small kids. A Gallup Poll released last year, however, reported that the average American only slept 6.8 hours per night.
When broken down, the Gallup poll asked people how much sleep they got per night. The Bureau of Labor Statistics asked people what time they went to bed and what time they got up.
Homeschool Grads Need Not Apply
A Fortune 500 company has a new policy not to hire homeschool graduates.
NiSource, an Indiana-based energy company, said they do not consider homeschool education to be valid and will not hire graduates with that background. In May, a man with multiple years of job experience, certifications, and a college education was offered a job with the company. His job offer was withdrawn when the company realized he had a homeschool diploma.
The Home School Legal Defense Association has sent the company letters, explaining that homeschooling is a recognized, legal form of education. NiSource, however, refused to recognize homeschool education as an equivalent to an accredited public education. The HSLDA has called this a discriminatory hiring practice. The energy company, however, refuses to back down on its position.
Marijuana and the Church
Washington state issued its first retail licenses for marijuana in July. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana on January 1, and other states are considering similar measures.
These decisions have brought up the conversation of marijuana among those in religious circles. Back in the fall of 2013, the Public Religion Research Institute released a poll saying 58 percent of white mainline Protestants and 54 percent of black Protestants favor legalizing the use of marijuana. However, 69 percent of white evangelical Protestants oppose it. Catholics are the most divided group, with 48 percent favoring legalization and 50 percent opposing it.
The Pew Research Center found that 52 percent of Americans in general favor legalizing the drug while 45 percent oppose it. Among adults born after 1980, the number of those in favor increases to 65 percent.
New Findings on Giving
An annual research report by the Giving USA Foundation and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy found that Americans are increasing their donations to charities but giving less to the church.
In 2013, Americans gave approximately $335 billion to charity, which represented an increase of 3 percent when adjusted for inflation. However, giving to churches declined by 0.2 percent or 1.6 when adjusted for inflation.
A little more than a decade ago, giving to churches accounted for more than 57 percent of giving. Today the number is at 31 percent, signaling a continuing decline. The report’s “religion” category did not include faith-based charities or universities, only houses of worship.
On a positive note, this is the fourth straight year of an increase in giving by Americans.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.