Finding Relatively Current Statistics
The most recent general statistical information about religious groups.
The ARDA Data Archive is a collection of surveys, polls, and other data submitted by researchers. Includes U.S. and international data, reports, and maps. You can browse files by category or alphabetically, view the newest additions, most popular files, or search for a file. Once you select a file you can preview the results, read about how the data were collected, review the survey questions asked, save selected survey questions to your own file, and/or download the data file.
In 2007 and 2014, Pew Research Center surveyed more than 35,000 Americans from all 50 states about their religious affiliations, beliefs and practices, and social and political views.
Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches (Print Only)
Contains statistical data based on reports from U.S. and Canadian denominations. Not every denomination reports annual figures, and each denomination determines its own statistical criteria. Detailed information is included only for religious groups which identify themselves as distinctively Christian; the yearbook is published under the auspices of the National Council of Churches of Christ. Reported data includes membership figures, financial contributions (both as percentage change from last year and as raw numbers), per capita contribution levels, and the number of congregations, clergy, and Sunday schools. The yearbook also tracks seminary enrollment, including tables for women and ethnic minorities from data supplied by the Association of Theological Schools.
Handbook of Denominations in the United States (Print Only)
An excellent general introduction to U.S. "denominations," including movements like Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Unitarian Universalism. Contains limited statistical information, including only the number of congregations and total membership.
Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions (Print Only).
Includes descriptive entries on over 2,100 religious groups in North America, with historical information, current membership, and bibliographic references. The particular strengths of this encyclopedia are its attention to non-Christian religious groups and to new and small religious movements; it also includes descriptions of defunct religious movements of the recent past. This title started in 1978. Some earlier editions (Print Only) go by the title Encyclopedia of American Religions.
The World Almanac and Book of Facts (Print Only)
Summarizes information available in other sources. Includes membership figures gathered by the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches; continental distributions of world religions as tabulated by the Encyclopedia Britannica Book of the Year; various religious calendars; and a current list of the North American members of the Roman Catholic College of Cardinals.
Britannica Book of the Year (Print Only)
Contains articles on significant annual developments in each major religious group. Also reports the continental distributions and national (U.S.) distributions of major religions. The World Data section includes religious affiliation statistics for each nation.
Finding Recent Statistics
Statistical information covering the last half-century, including comparative analysis, maps, and general trends.
Churches and Church Membership in the United States, 1990: An Enumeration by Region, State, and County, Based on Data Reported for 133 Church Groupings (Print Only). A research dataset is also available: Churches and Church Membership in the United States, 1990: Codebook and Technical Documentation
Churches and Church Membership in the United States, 1980: An Enumeration by Region, State, and County, Based on Data Reported by 111 Church Bodies (Print Only). A research dataset is also available: Churches and Church Membership in the United States, 1980: Codebook and Technical Documentation.
These five 10-year reports present national, state, and county statistics of "Judeo-Christian church bodies or groupings" (including groups which are not included in the National Council of the Churches of Christ's Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches); the report for 2000 includes some figures for other faith traditions. Each identifies the number of congregations, members, and total adherents of each denomination at each geographical level, and also presents the percentage of adherents in a particular communion to the total population and the percentage of adherents in a particular communion to the total religious adherents at each geographical level. Since each denomination determines its figures differently, variations in denominational reporting methods are described. Atlas of Religious Change in America, 1952-1990 (Print Only) presents this same data visually and provides interpretive commentary.
Presents the data collected for U.S. church membership in 1952 by the National Council of Churches. Unlike the census reports through 1936, which collected data from individual congregations directly, this study gathered information from 114 religious organizations and denominations representing 182,856 individual churches and 74 million members. The data are presented in serial form: Ser. A:no.1-4, "Major Faiths by Regions, Divisions, and States"; B:no.1-8, "Denominational Statistics by Regions, Divisions, and States"; C:no.1-59, "Denominational Statistics by States and Counties"; D:no.1-6, "Denominational Statistics by Metropolitan Areas"; E:no.1-3, "Socioeconomic Characteristics."
Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (Print Only).
See Appendix 13 (pp. 3041-3046 in Volume 5) for a section on statistics concerning predominantly African American denominations. Two tables present information from the 1890, 1916, and 1936 census reports. Additional tables present statistical trends in a variety of denominations using information drawn from several different sources, for the periods 1950-1975 and 1976-1993. A final set of tables presents information about racially mixed denominations.
This 14-page document reports selected findings of a 1989-1990 telephone survey of 113,000 adults in the continental United States. The report gives weighted estimates of self-identified adherents of various religions (which can be contrasted in interesting ways with the membership counts provided in the preceding studies by official church groups). Other data include marital status, educational level, social characteristics, racial identification, household size, political party affiliation, and ethnic origins for selected religions. The study also reports the religious compositions of state populations.
The Atlas of Religion (Print Only)
Maps the current nature, extent, and influence of each of the major religions and shows, country by country, how religions are spread through broadcasting, missionary work, schooling, and banking; how they relate to government, laws, and world hunger; and the role they play in wars. It traces the emergence of new religious movements, the survival of traditional beliefs, and the presence of atheism and agnosticism. Descriptions provide additional information about the maps, but the maps themselves are immediately accessible and quite interesting.
Atlas of Religious Change in America, 1952-1990 (Print Only)
Provides especially useful cartographic representations of religious adherence statistics between 1952 and 1990, using data collected in the Glenmary Research Center's Churches and Church Membership in the United States series (1971, 1980, 1990). Three maps for each denomination portray membership statistics by county, showing (1) 1990 totals, (2) the percentage change between 1980 and 1990, and (3) the share of population in 1990. Two additional maps are included for denominations which participated in the 1952 study as well as in the three later reports: the first depicts the changes in membership prior to 1971 compared to changes since 1971; the second depicts changes in a denomination's share of county population, again using 1971 as a midpoint. Each set of maps includes a helpful interpretive essay. For earlier data, see New Historical Atlas of Religion in America (Print Only)
Religion in America. The Gallup Opinion Index (Print Only)
Reports the results of ongoing polls of American religious beliefs and practices, with some interpretive commentary. This index tracks broad and general trends only. Published from 1981 to 2002.
The almanac contains statistics and opinion polls.