Kent County Congregations Study, 2007

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > Religious Groups > Members or Leaders > Other > Summary


Drawing on extensive prior research that explored the relationship between congregations and social welfare, the KCCS had four objectives: (1) to document the social and educational services that Kent County, Michigan congregations actually provide; (2) to collect demographic and contextual information about religious leaders, congregations, and their civic and community engagement; (3) to facilitate comparison of Kent County to the nation; and (4) to estimate the “replacement value” of the top three social or educational services provided by each congregation.

A broad group of religious leaders and academic advisors gave their input to the KCCS. Researchers from the Calvin College Center for Social Research, the Grand Valley State University Community Research Institute, and the Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation at RDV Corporation conducted the study in two phases from mid-2006 to late 2007. First, the research team undertook a comprehensive census of Kent County congregations and second they surveyed congregational leaders in face-to-face and telephone interviews.

Data File
Cases: 583
Variables: 515
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: Beginning in summer 2006, the Kent County Congregational Study (KCCS) began an exhaustive effort to identify a master list of congregations in Kent County, Michigan. Data were collected in 2007 (from June to December) with an extensive survey of congregational leaders from the master list of congregations.
Funded By
The Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation funded the KCCS.
Collection Procedures
Data were collected from the KCCS survey, which was conducted by either face-to-face or telephone interviews. In all, 395 face-to-face interviews and 188 telephone interviews were completed.
Sampling Procedures
Beginning in summer 2006, the KCCS began an exhaustive effort to identify a master list of congregations in Kent County, Michigan. Grand Valley CRI and RDV Corporation staff and volunteers canvassed roads and walkable districts in over 300 square miles of the county, focusing on lower-income areas first. This search located many previously undocumented congregations. Meanwhile, Calvin CSR staff built a database and consolidated lists from multiple sources, including GRACE’s directory, denominational lists, Yellow Pages and religious marketing mailing lists. The resulting list included over 900 possible congregations. Pursuing interviews helped to delete hundreds of outdated records and add 47 new congregations. A master list of 720 congregations was finalized as of December 2007.
Principal Investigators
Edwin Hernández, Ph.D., RDV Corporation
Neil Carlson, Ph.D., Calvin College Center for Social Research
Related Publications
Findings have been published in “Gatherings of Hope: How Congregations Contribute to the Quality of Life in Kent County.” More info and available copies can be found at http://www.calvin.edu/weblogs/csr/gatherings-of-hope/