New Religious Census Released—Time to Meet Your Neighbors

Just released, the 2010 Religious Congregations and Membership Study (RCMS) is the closest thing to a religious census in the United States. Data collected by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB) include statistics for 236 religious groups.  In 2000, only 149 groups took part, which makes the 2010 statistics the most comprehensive to date. The RCMS provides information on the number of congregations and adherents of each of these religious groups within every state and county in the United States.

Religious membership is available by zipcode, city, state, county, or metro area. Reports also show the numbers who are “unclaimed”—that is they are not members of any of the 236 religious groups that participated.

The religious landscape differs greatly across the United States. Here, for instance, is the picture for Birmingham, Alabama:

Statistic 110

You can see that evangelical Protestants (sometimes called conservative Protestants) make up the biggest group. Also, notice that the number of evangelical Protestants exceeds those who are “unclaimed”—there’s a reason they call it the Bible Belt!

Contrast that to the picture in Salt Lake City, Utah:

Statistic 2 110

Here you can see that “others” outnumber all other groups. In the home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church), that group predominates.

Take a minute to explore the religious landscape in your area.