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Religion and Public Life Survey, 2001




According to the report Faith-Based Funding Backed, But Church-State Doubts Abound (2001), the project investigated the public's attitudes on funding for faith-based organizations. The survey was commissioned by The Pew Center for the People and the Press and looked at religion and culture, politics, and American life.

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

Data File

Cases: 2041
Variables: 157
Weight Variable: WEIGHT

Data Collection

March 5-18, 2001

Funded By

Pew Research Center for People and the Press

Collection Procedures

Telephone interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates.

Sampling Procedures

This survey used a nationwide sample of 2,041 adults, 18 years of age or older, including an over-sample of 197 African-Americans. Based on the total sample, it can be said with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. For results based on either Form 1 (N=1,023) or Form 2 (N=1,018), the sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The sample was drawn from a random digit sample of telephone numbers selected from telephone exchanges in the continental United States. The last two digits of the telephone numbers were randomly generated from a group selected on the basis of area code, telephone exchange, and bank number.

The telephone exchanges were selected with probabilities proportional to their size. The first eight digits of the sampled telephone numbers (area code, telephone exchange, bank number) were selected to be proportionally stratified by county and by telephone exchange within a county. That is, the number of telephone numbers randomly sampled from within a given county is proportional to that county's share of telephone numbers in the U.S. Only working banks of telephone numbers were selected. A working bank is defined as 100 contiguous telephone numbers containing one or more residential listings.

The sample was released for interviewing in replicates. Using replicates to control the release of sample to the field ensures that the complete call procedures are followed for the entire sample. The use of replicates also ensures that the regional distribution of numbers called is appropriate. Again, this works to increase the representativeness of the sample.

At least 10 attempts were made to complete an interview at every sampled telephone number. To maximize the chances of contacting a potential respondent, calls were staggered by time of day and days of the week. All interview break-offs and refusals were re-contacted at least once in order to attempt to convert them to completed interviews. In each contacted household, interviewers asked to speak with the "youngest male 18 or older who is at home." If there is no eligible man at home, interviewers asked to speak with "the oldest woman 18 or older who is at home." This technique was used because it has been show, to produce samples that closely mirror the population in terms of age and gender.

In order to compensate for known biases, such as non-response, which can vary for different subgroups of the population, the sample data are weighted. The demographic weighting parameters are derived from a special analysis of the most recently available Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (March 2000). This analysis produced population parameters for the demographic characteristics of households with adults 18 or older, which are then compared with the sample characteristics to construct sample weights. The analysis only included households in the continental United States that have a telephone.

In addition to the national sample, an oversample of 197 African-Americans was interviewed. This prescreened sample of African-Americans was combined with the national sample and weighted to national parameters.

The weights are derived using an iterative technique that simultaneously balances the distributions of all weighting parameters.

To test the findings from HIRESHAR and FAVAPLFD, two additional questions were asked in a separate survey March 23-25. This survey included 1,220 respondents. The dataset with these questions, in addition to some basic demographical variables and the weights, can be found in the American Religion Data Archive file, VERIFREL.

Principal Investigators

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

Related Publications

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press Survey Report: Faith-Based Funding Backed, But Church-State Doubts Abound, April 10, 2001


For DESCGOD1, DESCGOD2, DESCGOD3, DESCGOD4, DESCGOD5, GODWORD1 and GODWORD2 respondents were asked the following question: If you had to describe God in your own words, what would you say? Respondents could give multiple responses and if only one response was given, interviewers were asked to probe for additional ones. The open-ended question was coded into one-word and group answers. The one-word answers can be found in GODWORD1 and GODWORD2. The answer groups can be found in DESCGOD1, DESCGOD2, DESCGOD3, DESCGOD4, and DESCGOD5.

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