More on Barna's numbers
People who have started looking more closely at Barna's articles (such as Mike Theemling and gortexgrrl) have noticed the same thing we did in our research: Barna doesn't break down gender differences between never married men and women. It would have been helpful if he had. Consequently, we don't know exactly the percentage of never married Christian men vs. the percentage of never married Christian women. In his book Single Focus, Barna offers the percentage of believers among never marrieds, marrieds, divorced and widowed. While he shows a much higher percentage of believers among those who are married or widowed vs. those who have never married, he doesn't divide those marital status categories into gender. That leaves us with his gender gap of 41% to 49% (it isn't broken down by marital status).
Ultimately, this is the primary issue: Barna estimated in 2000 that there were 11 to 13 million more Christian women than Christian men (an estimate he must have arrived at by applying his percentages to Census Bureau data, the same way other statisticians do -- unless he has his own army of headcounters). Nowhere does Barna indicate specifically what several singles writers have implied -- that the gap he is referring to is among never married men and never married women. Until I can track someone down at Barna to see what other information they may have, a reasonable interpretation of what they make available is that the playing field between never married men and never married women is at least mostly level and most likely slightly in favor of men.
I'd like to add that my point in writing the article was not to start a debate about who outnumbers whom, but to clarify that where never marrieds are concerned, the 11-13 million number has absolutely no bearing. It's disingenuous to quote it in the context of a conversation about how many singles aren't getting married and it has the effect of leaving many women feeling unnecessarily depressed.
It is good news for never married women who desire marriage that the 11 million man shortage is a fallacy.
Now that we know there are enough men, or at least nearly enough, we can stop feeling sorry that we live in this generation and start asking the harder questions like what makes for a good potential spouse, where are the good potential spouses to be found, and what part can can I, as a woman, play in God's plan for marriage?