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Black Protestant - Religious Tradition

Black Protestant churches are those that minister to predominantly African American congregations in the United States. The first black churches were founded by free blacks in the 18th century. Historically black churches have long been the centers of communities, serving numerous important functions. While the religious-meaning system and social organization of these denominations are similar to those found in white evangelical denominations, African American Protestants emphasize different aspects of Christian doctrine, especially the importance of freedom and the quest for justice. Black Protestants tend to be liberal on economic attitudes and conservative on social issues. The seven major Black Protestant denominations are: the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the Church of God in Christ, the National Baptist Convention of America, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., and the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.

Maps: Black Protestant1

Adherence Rate per 1,000 (2020)

Congregations (2020)

Top 5 Black Protestant States (2020)1 [View all States]

Rank State Adherents Adherence Rate
1 District Of Columbia 71,868 104.20
2 Mississippi 258,067 87.10
3 Alabama 385,172 76.70
4 Arkansas 190,640 63.30
5 Tennessee 396,402 57.40

Top 5 Black Protestant Counties (2020)1 [View all counties]

Rank County Adherents Adherence Rate
1 Nevada County, Arkansas 2,878 346.30
2 Adams County, Mississippi 10,038 339.80
3 Northampton County, North Carolina 5,172 296.00
4 Macon County, Alabama 5,707 292.20
5 Lowndes County, Mississippi 16,970 288.20

Top 5 Black Protestant Metro Areas (2020)1 [View all Metro Areas]

Rank Metro Area Adherents Adherence Rate
1 Columbus, MS Micro Area 16,970 288.20
2 Magnolia, AR Micro Area 5,854 256.70
3 Camden, AR Micro Area 6,982 254.90
4 Hope, AR Micro Area 6,998 246.60
5 El Dorado, AR Micro Area 8,778 224.80

Black Protestant Groups: Adherence Rates (1980 - 2020)1

Group Family Adh. Rate 2020 Adh. Rate 2010 Adh. Rate 2000 Adh. Rate 1990 Adh. Rate 1980
African Methodist Episcopal Church Methodist 3.20 3.27
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Methodist 0.92 0.97 4.59 4.86
Black Baptists Estimate Baptist 35.13 0.00
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church Methodist 0.81 0.94 3.03
Church of God in Christ Pentecostal 2.78 2.02
Church of our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. Pentecostal 0.26
Church of the Living God (Christian Workers for Fellowship) Pentecostal
Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Inc. [Lewis Dominion] Pentecostal
Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America Presbyterian/Reformed 0.04
Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International Baptist 0.42
House of God, Holy Church of the Living God, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, House of Prayer for All People None/Unknown
National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc. Baptist 0.68 0.99
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Baptist 4.73 6.09
National Missionary Baptist Convention of America Baptist 7.33 0.85
National Primitive Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Baptist 0.11 0.24
North Carolina Congregational Conference None/Unknown
Pentecostal Assemblies of the World Pentecostal 0.17
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. Baptist 0.77 0.66
Reformed Zion Union Apostolic Church Methodist 0.01
Union American Methodist Episcopal Church Methodist
United American Free Will Baptist Denomination, Inc. Baptist
United Holy Church of America Pentecostal 0.05
United House of Prayer None/Unknown 0.07


1 The 2020 data were collected by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB) and include data for 372 religious bodies or groups. Of these, the ASARB was able to gather data on congregations and adherents for 217 and on congregations only for 155. [More information on the data sources]

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