Democratizing access to the best data on religion since 1997

Archive Navigation

View Question Bank

Archive Categories

Sort the above Archive Category by:

Browse Alphabetically
Browse All Categories
Browse Newest Additions

File Summaries

Search Data Archive

PRRI and RNS August 2016 Religion Survey




The PRRI/RNS August 2016 Religion Survey explores why Americans are disaffiliating from religion. This survey was designed and conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service. The survey includes an oversample of religiously unaffiliated Americans. It explores the reasons why unaffiliated Americans who were raised in a religion left, with questions about whether negative teachings about gay and lesbian people, the clergy sex abuse scandal, or bringing politics into church were important factors. The survey examines public attitudes toward organized religion, such as whether religion causes more problems than it solves and if children need to be brought up in religion to have good values. It also gauges whether unaffiliated Americans are currently looking to join a religious community. Finally, the survey measures belief about God, including the degree of doubt about God's existence and perceptions of God as a personal or impersonal force.

The ARDA has added five additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 2201
Variables: 88
Weight Variable: WEIGHT

The weighting is accomplished in two separate stages. The first stage of weighting corrects for different probabilities of selection associated with the number of adults in each household and each respondent's telephone usage patterns. In the second stage, sample demo-graphics are balanced to match target population parameters for gender, age, education, race and Hispanic ethnicity, region (U.S. Census definitions), population density and telephone usage. The population density parameter was derived from Census 2010 data. The telephone usage parameter came from an analysis of the January-September 2014 National Health Interview Survey. All other weighting parameters are derived from an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau's May 2015 Current Population Survey.

The sample weighting is accomplished using an iterative proportional fitting (IFP) process that simultaneously balances the distributions of all variables. Weights were trimmed to prevent individual interviews from having too much influence on the final results. The use of these weights in statistical analysis ensures that the demographic characteristics of the sample closely approximate the demographic characteristics of the target populations. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.5 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence. The design effect for the survey is 1.5. In addition to sampling error, surveys may also be subject to error or bias due to question wording, context and order effects.

Data Collection

July 27, 2016 - Aug. 9, 2016

Original Survey (Instrument)

PRRI August 2016 Religion Survey

Funded By

The survey was made possible by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation with additional support from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation.

Collection Procedures

Data collection is based on stratified, single-stage, random-digit-dialing (RDD) sample of landline telephone households and randomly generated cell phone numbers. The sample is designed to represent the total U.S. adult population and includes respondents from all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska. The landline and cell phone samples are provided by Marketing Systems Group.

Sampling Procedures

The PRRI/RNS August 2016 Survey was designed and conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with Religion News Service. Results of the survey were based on bilingual (Spanish and English) RDD telephone interviews conducted between July 27, 2016, and Aug. 9, 2016, by professional interviewers under the direction of SSRS. Interviews were conducted among a random sample of 2,201 adults 18 years of age or older living in the United States (1,330 respondents were interviewed on a cell phone). The selection of respondents within households was accomplished by randomly requesting to speak with the youngest adult male or female currently living in the household. The survey included an oversample of unaffiliated respondents, who were prescreened for religious affiliation in SSRS's weekly RDD omnibus survey. A total of 186 unaffiliated respondents were identified as part of the oversample and included in the study.

Principal Investigators

Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI)

Our Sponsors

Our Affiliates

© 2024 The Association of Religion Data Archives. All rights reserved.