U.S. Congregational Membership: Data Sources
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Major and Individual Religious Groups

Data for the major and individual religious groups come from the 2010 Religious Congregations and Membership Study (RCMS), collected by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB). This study covers 236 religious groups in the United States, providing information on the number of their congregations and adherents within each state and county in the United States. The 236 groups reported a total of 344,894 congregations with 150,686,156 adherents, comprising 48.8 percent of the total U.S. population of 308,745,538 in 2010. Clifford Grammich, Kirk Hadaway, Richard Houseal, Dale E. Jones, Alexei Krindatch, Richie Stanley and Richard H. Taylor supervised the collection. These data originally appeared in 2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study, published by ASARB.

The 2010 RCMS, as well as previous years of church membership data, are available for download at the state or county level. You may also visit our frequently asked questions page pertaining to this data source.

Religious Behaviors and Beliefs

Data on religious behaviors and beliefs come from the Pew Research Center 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. Collected by the Pew Research Center, the study is a nationally representative telephone survey conducted June 4-Sept. 30, 2014, among a sample of 35,071 U.S. adults. A minimum of 300 interviews were conducted in every state and the District of Columbia. The survey is estimated to cover 97 percent of the non-institutionalized U.S. adult population. Estimates are aggregated at the state level and weighted using the WEIGHT variable.

The 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey is available for download here.

Estimates from the 2007 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey also are displayed.

U.S. Census Measures

The most recent U.S. Census variables derive from the 2018 American Community Survey, 5-year estimates (2014-2018), as well as the 2018 Census Population Estimates. The American Community Survey is a large, ongoing nationally representative survey that provides vital information on a yearly basis about the United States and its people. The Census Population Estimates come from the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program (PEP), which produces estimates of the population for the United States, states, metropolitan/micropolitan statistical areas, counties, cities, and towns using the latest administrative record data, geographic boundaries, and methodology.

These estimates were downloaded at the state and county level using Social Explorer.

Census variables prior to data year 2018 also are included in the U.S. and state maps, including estimates from the 2012 American Community Survey (5-year), 2008 American Community Survey (3-year), and counts from the 2000 decennial Census.

Crime, Voting, Health and Other Measures

Crime

Crime data come from the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). Collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the data provides the volume of violent, property, and other crimes as reported by law enforcement agencies that contributed to the UCR program. These criminal reports are used alongside Census Population Estimates to produce specific crime rates (per 100,000 population). Data were downloaded at state and county level using Social Explorer.

For prior years, we also provide crime data from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Voting

The most recent voting data come from the 2016 Current Population Survey, November Voting and Registration Supplement, Politico.com (state level), and Townhall.com (county level). The 2016 U.S. presidential election results at the county level are scraped from results published by Townhall.com and are available for download here.

We also provide state level measures from the 2012, 2008, and 2000 U.S. presidential elections.

Health

The most recent health data on the county level are compiled by the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a program which measures a wide variety of health factors, including obesity, smoking, drinking, exercise, access to healthy foods and other important health measures. The 2016 data were downloaded from Social Explorer.

For years prior to 2016, we also provide health measures on the state level from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, U.S. Centers from Disease Control, U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Guttmacher Institute, National Center for Health Statistics, as well as additional data sources.

Other

Other measures come from the U.S. Patent Office, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Association of State Park Directors, National Education Association, U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, as well as additional data sources.

Historical Religion and Social Context, 1770-1930

The measures for historical religion, social, and demographic characteristics derive from the History of American Religion, 1770-1930. dataset. Through the aid of U.S. decennial censuses, ICPSR, the American Presidency Project, and prominent religion scholars like Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, these historical measures reflect changes in the religious adherence rates, population estimates, voting behavior, employment, and other social indicators over time.

The History of American Religion, 1770-1930 dataset is available for download here.

For in-depth information on historical data collection and measurement, please note the citation information on variable labels and consult the reference list of sources below:

Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census. Census of Religious Bodies, 1926, Part I: Summary and Detailed Tables. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1930. Available for download here.

Finke, Roger and Rodney Stark. 1986. "Turning Pews into People: Estimating 19th Century Church Membership." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 25 (2): 180-192. https://www.doi.org/10.2307/1385475

Haines, Michael R., and Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. Historical, Demographic, Economic, and Social Data: The United States, 1790-2002. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-05-21. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02896.v3

Stark, Rodney. America 1920-1980. MicroCase Corporation.

Stark, Rodney and Roger Finke. 1988. "American Religion in 1776: A Statistical Portrait." Sociological Analysis 49 (1): 39-51. https://doi.org/10.2307/3711102

Statistical Abstracts of the United States, Series. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 8/12/19 from: https://www.census.gov/library/publications/time-series/statistical_abstracts.html

Woolley, John T. 1999. The American Presidency Project. Santa Barbara, Calif.: University of California. Web Source. Retrieved 4/5/19 from: https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/index.php


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