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Monday, 11th January 2010

Resources of the Week: Religion...by the Numbers

Resources of the Week: Religion...by the Numbers
By Shirl Kennedy, Senior Editor

A few weeks ago for The Day Job, I was rummaging around in my my Delicious bookmarks for sites offering statistics related to religion. I'd saved a few, but I decided to go looking for more...and then I organized them...and now I am sharing them with you.

If you are aware of any other sites I should add to this list -- especially for non-Western/non-mainstream religions -- please let me know.

Meta Sites

+ 2010 U.S. Statistical Abstract: Religion
Three tables:

  • Self-Described Religious Identification of Adult Population
  • Religious Bodies--Selected Data
  • Christian Church Adherents and Jewish Population, States

+ Adherents.com

Adherents.com is a growing collection of over 43,870 adherent statistics and religious geography citations: references to published membership/adherent statistics and congregation statistics for over 4,200 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements, ultimate concerns, etc.

+ American Religious Identification Survey 2008 (Trinity College)
Statistics sliced and diced in many ways. Notable here: American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population

+ Association of Religion Data Archives

Founded as the American Religion Data Archive in 1997 and going online in 1998, the initial archive was targeted at researchers interested in American religion. The targeted audience and the data collection have both greatly expanded since 1998, now including American and international collections and developing features for educators, journalists, religious congregations, and researchers. Data included in the ARDA are submitted by the foremost religion scholars and research centers in the world.

+ Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies: Statistics
Currently offers "Standard Denominational Adherents Information for 2007".

+ Association of Theological Schools/Commission on Accrediting: Annual Data Tables/FactBooks

The Fact Book on Theological Education has been published annually since 1969 until 2002 when it and the Annual Data Tables became two separate publications. The Fact Book (changed to a biennial publication on odd years), offers an executive summary of the data provided by the member schools in the fall of the previous academic year.

Designed as a concise overview of graduate, professional theological education in the approximately 250 member schools of ATS, the Fact Book includes a topical essay and a table of significant institutional characteristics of each member institution. Figures in the Fact Book reference the Annual Data Table from which the calculation was made.

Barna Group

Barna Research Group provides primary research services to organizations focused on enhancing people’s spiritual lives. It conducts qualitative and quantitative research on a commissioned basis, as well as developing self-initiated studies of the spiritual landscape of the nation. The company has worked with thousands of ministries across the country and is widely relied upon by media, churches and educational institutions for insight into matters of faith and contemporary society.

Most of what's here costs money, but the press releases often contain useful statistics, and they have an online form for media requests: http://www.barna.org/media-requests

+ Center for the Study of Global Christianity (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary): World Christian Database

The World Christian Database (WCD) is based on the 2600-page award-winning World Christian Encyclopedia and World Christian Trends, first published in 1982 and revised in 2001. This extensive work on World religion is now completely updated and integrated into the WCD online database. Designed for both the casual user and research scholar, information is readily available on religious activities, growth rates, religious literature, worker activity, and demographic statistics.

Note that this is a subscription database. "Free subscriptions are available to major media organizations only."

+ CIA World Factbook
Offers religious breakdowns of the population by country; also for the world as a whole:

Christians 33.32% (of which Roman Catholics 16.99%, Protestants 5.78%, Orthodox 3.53%, Anglicans 1.25%), Muslims 21.01%, Hindus 13.26%, Buddhists 5.84%, Sikhs 0.35%, Jews 0.23%, Baha'is 0.12%, other religions 11.78%, non-religious 11.77%, atheists 2.32% (2007 est.)

Country information is continually updated.

+ Foreign Policy: The List - The World’s Fastest-Growing Religions (May 2007)

From Muslims in Europe to evangelical Christians in Africa, it is religious believers who are shaping the early 21st Century. Charismatic movements are sweeping throughout the Southern Hemisphere, while high birth rates among immigrants are provoking soul-seeking in the historically Christian West. For this List, FP looks at the fast-growing faiths that are upending the old world order.

Includes statistics on Islam, the Bah'ai faith, Sikhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Christianity.

+ Gallup: Religion
Ongoing polls on religion-related issues.

+ Glenmary Research Center

The mission of the GRC is to place meaningful information in the hands of its constituents. We disseminate this research in three primary formats: books, maps (learn more about Glenmary's mapping heritage) and data files.

Self-identifies as "Catholic society of priests and brothers" involved in missionary work as well as research. Much of the info here costs money, but there are some free data files and maps.

+ Hartford Institute for Religious Research

Research is at the heart of what we do - gathering reliable information about what is happening in religious life today. Groundbreaking studies on the movement of women into the role of clergy and timely assessment of trends in church membership are two of the many ways in which we seek to measure how people of faith are forming and re-forming their institutions. Changes in theological seminaries and in national denominational structures have received the Hartford Institute's careful attention, as have the dynamics and community contributions of congregations. Institute personnel and projects have pioneered methods for the study of congregations, including a national multi-faith survey that is gathering unprecedented, comprehensive data on the nation's congregations.

See: Research page.
Don't miss: Database of Megachurches in the U.S.
Also: Religion Data Resources

+ Institute for the Study of Religion (Baylor)

ISR exists to initiate, support, and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology, and religious studies.

Offers nice collection of (free) reports.

+ Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion: Estimating the Religious Composition of All Nations (PDF; paper, December 2008)

The international religious data in the World Christian Database (WCD), and its print predecessor, the World Christian Encyclopedia (WCE), have been used frequently in academic studies and the popular press. While scholars have raised questions about the WCD’s estimation, categories, and potential bias, the data have not yet been systematically assessed. We test the reliability of the WCD by comparing its religious composition estimates to four other data sources (World Values Survey, Pew Global Assessment Project, CIA World Factbook, and the U.S. Department of State), finding that estimates are highly correlated. In comparing the WCD estimates for Islamic countries and American Christian adherents with local data sources, we identify specific groups for which estimates differ. In addition, we discuss countries where the data sets provide inconsistent religious estimates. Religious composition estimates in the World Christian Database are generally plausible and consistent with other data sets. The World Christian Database also includes comprehensive non-religious data. We conclude with recommendations regarding the use of the WCD in future analysis.

+ National Congregations Survey (Duke)

The National Congregations Study surveys a representative sample of America's churches, synagogues, mosques and other local places of worship. It gathers information about a wide range of characteristics and activities of congregations.

See also:
Pulpit & Pew:

+ National Study of Youth & Religion

The National Study of Youth and Religion is a research project directed by Christian Smith, Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame and Lisa Pearce, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The project is designed to enhance our understanding of the religious lives of American youth from adolescence into young adulthood, using telephone survey and in-depth interview methods. What follows is a more detailed description of the goals and design of the National Study of Youth and Religion.

Resources and Reports.

+ Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

The Forum functions as both an information clearinghouse and a town hall. As a clearinghouse it tracks and aggregates news and conducts independent research, including surveys, legal backgrounders, reports, books and Q&A interviews. As a town hall, it provides a neutral venue for discussion.

See especially: U.S. Religious Landscape Survey

Based on interviews with more than 35,000 American adults, this extensive survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details the religious makeup, religious beliefs and practices as well as social and political attitudes of the American public.

+ Pluralism Project (Harvard)

The Pluralism Project: World Religions in America is a decade-long research project, with current funding from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, to engage students in studying the new religious diversity in the United States. We will explore particularly the communities and religious traditions of Asia and the Middle East that have become woven into the religious fabric of the United States in the past twenty-five years.

Nice collection of statistics and resources.

+ The U.S. Congregational Life Survey: A National and International Study of Congregations

As part of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, about 300,000 worshipers in over 2,000 congregations in the United States completed a survey during worship services in April 2001. Worshipers in Australia, England, and New Zealand completed similar surveys. Together, the international effort included about 2 million worshipers and 17,000 congregations across three continents.

Most publications for sale. Some free resources -- fact sheets, etc.

+ U.S. Department of State: Annual Report on International Religious Freedom

The International Religious Freedom report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide.

Covers 195 countries.


Specific Faiths

+ Assemblies of God
Statistics on the Assemblies of God (USA)

+ Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
The Disciples Today

+ Church of the Nazarene
Research Center

+ Episcopal Church

+ Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

+ Hindu American Foundation
Hindu Demographics

+ Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
LCMS at a Glance

+ Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life -- Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population (October 2009)

+ North American Jewish Data Bank

+ Presbyterian Church in America

+ Quaker Information Center
Distribution of Quakers in the World

+ Southern Baptist Convention
2007-2008 Statistics (PDF; see page 110)

+ Unitarian Universalist Association
UUA Statistics

+ United Methodist Church
United Methodists 'At-a-Glance'

+ U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Catholic Church in the United States At A Glance

Also for Catholicism, see:
+ Georgetown University: Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate
Catholic Church Statistics


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