United States Census of Religious Bodies, State File, 1906

Data Archive > U.S. Church Membership Data > State-Level > Summary


The United States Census of Religious Bodies is, as the name suggests, a census of religious organizations, not a census of individuals (the U.S. Census collected data on religious organizations through the 1936 census). This census provides measures of the number of members in various denominations, by geographic unit. This is the first of four complete surveys on the subject of religious membership undertaken by the U.S. Bureau of the Census (followed by the 1916, 1926, and 1936 censuses). The data are organized by states (states are the cases).

Data File
Cases: 48
Variables: 94
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: 1906
Funded By
U.S. Government
Collection Procedures
The Bureau of the Census contacted the leaders of each identifiable denomination in the United States. The denominations supplied lists of churches, which were used to create contacts with local church leaders. Church leaders provided the membership statistics in this data (they also supplied other measures which are available in the paper version of the census). Churches that did not respond were sent several follow-up surveys and finally, if they still did not respond, were visited by a census worker. Due to the variation in who is counted as a member from denomination to denomination, it is suggested that the Roman Catholic population be reduced by 15 percent in the 1906 census (see the 1936 Census of Religious Bodies for further details, Department of Census, 1940).
Sampling Procedures
Every identifiable denomination, based on lists of churches and religious organizations from yearbooks, denominations, and other sources, were contacted. Cults with no identifiable membership and interdenominational organizations were not included in the population of interest.
Principal Investigators
Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census
Related Publications
Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census. Census of Religious Bodies, 1906, Part I: Summary and General Tables. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1910.