U.S. Religion Census
1952 to 2010

Sponsored By:
Our Promise To
Participating Groups

This study is not for marketing purposes; names and addresses of congregations are not collected or published. The study works with each participating group to ensure the group's accurate representation.

With Support From:


and
Member Denominations

Frequently Asked Questions

General Users
When will this data be updated?
The sponsoring group, A.S.A.R.B., plans to produce a 2020 edition in conjunction with the U.S. Census.
How can I get a report showing the religious bodies in my county?
Reports and maps detailing religious adherence at the county level (or metro, state, and national levels) are available at The Association of Religious Data Archives.
Has my denomination or faith group participated in previous studies?
Chances are they have, but you can see a listing of the groups that have participated in previous studies here: (History of Participation)
Was the independent church I attend included in RCMS 2010?
We hope so, but you will not see it listed separately. It will be aggregated at the county level with other independent churches.
Why are the counts of people different from those in other surveys?
Our counts are based on the people associated with specific congregations in each county or county equivalent. This is different from asking people what religion they identify with. Self-identification is certainly a valid sociological factor. However, participation has also been shown to be an important indicator, and our count focuses on that dimension.
Participating Religious Groups
How does my religious group benefit?
Your group will benefit in several ways. RCMS 2010 will provide each participating group with a set of maps showing their data. This will be especially beneficial for those groups that have participated before because they will be able to see the change that has taken place over time. The study will also provide each participating group with a copy of any printed or electronic material produced by RCMS 2010. Because you are providing the data included in the study, your religious group will be accurately represented when local or national media report on religious geography and adherents. Your group will also be included when sociologists of religion do research and writing. And when individuals go online looking for the religious make-up of a community, your group will be included.
Has my denomination or faith group participated in previous studies?
Chances are they have, but you can see a listing of the groups that have participated in previous studies here: (History of Participation)
What information do we need to provide in order to participate?
Groups are asked to provide the following data aggregated to the county level: the number of congregations, the number of members (if available), the number of attendees (if available), and the number of adherents (if available).
What if my group cannot provide all the data items?
The minimum necessary to participate is the number of congregations by county.
What if my group cannot aggregate our data to the county level?
RCMS 2010 can help you with that. Just send us a list of your congregations with their location addresses (and include any available membership, attendee, and adherent data). We will determine their county locations and aggregate the data for you. (Note: Any address information provided to RCMS 2010 will only be used to determine county locations of congregations. Address information will never be sold or distributed. It will be destroyed once you sign off on the aggregated figures.)
How is RCMS defining "congregations?"
Congregations may be churches, mosques, temples, or other meeting places. A congregation may generally be defined as a group of people who meet regularly (typically weekly or monthly) at a pre-announced time and location.
How is RCMS defining "members?"
Members are determined by the by-laws of each participating group. Members in Christian Protestant denominations are most often referred to as "full" or "communicant members."
How is RCMS defining "adherents?"
The adherent figure is meant to be the most complete count of people affiliated with a congregation, and the most comparable count of people across all participating groups. Adherents may include all those with an affiliation to a congregation (children, members, and attendees who are not members). If a participating group does not provide the number of adherents, RCMS 2010 may estimate the number of adherents through the use of a statistical procedure (this will only be done with the approval of the participating group). For groups that report the number of members but not adherents, the general formula for estimating adherents is: Compute what percentage the group's membership is of the county's adult population (14 and older), and then apply that percentage to the county's child population (13 and younger), and then take the resulting figure and add it to the group's membership figure.
How is RCMS defining "attendees?"
RCMS 2010 is looking for the number most comparable to an average weekly attendance (or monthly depending on the frequency of the group's meetings) during worship services.
Does RCMS sell or provide church addresses to anyone?
Absolutely not.
Consultants, Vendors, Developers
Can I incorporate this data into my work?
ASARB (the RCMS copyright holder and study sponsor) wants you to use the data and products, but we don't want you to distribute the dataset or products without proper permission. If you have any question about obtaining proper permission, please contact us.
Can I download the data?
You will be able to download the dataset for free from the Association of Religion Data Archives. This includes permission to use the data for studies or reports or analyses, but does not grant permission to redistribute or repost the data.
Researchers / Writers
Can I download the data?
You will be able to download the dataset for free from the Association of Religion Data Archives. This includes permission to use the data for studies or reports or analyses, but does not grant permission to redistribute or repost the data.
What citation should I use?
Citations to the current study should contain all the following information in this or other form:

Clifford Grammich, Kirk Hadaway, Richard Houseal, Dale E. Jones, Alexei Krindatch, Richie Stanley, and Richard H. Taylor. 2012. 2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study. Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

Citations for the previous study:

Jones, Dale E., Sherri Doty, Clifford Grammich, James E. Horsch, Richard Houseal, Mac Lynn, John P. Marcum, Kenneth M. Sanchagrin and Richard H. Taylor. 2002. Religious Congregations and Membership in the United States 2000: An Enumeration by Region, State and County Based on Data Reported by 149 Religious Bodies. Nashville, TN: Glenmary Research Center.
Media / Publishers
How do I get permission to print maps or use data from previous RCMS studies?
Copyright permission may be obtained through the publisher's web site (Glenmary Research Center).
What citation should I use?
Citations to the current study should contain all the following information in this or other form:

Clifford Grammich, Kirk Hadaway, Richard Houseal, Dale E. Jones, Alexei Krindatch, Richie Stanley, and Richard H. Taylor. 2012. 2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study. Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

Citations for the previous study:

Jones, Dale E., Sherri Doty, Clifford Grammich, James E. Horsch, Richard Houseal, Mac Lynn, John P. Marcum, Kenneth M. Sanchagrin and Richard H. Taylor. 2002. Religious Congregations and Membership in the United States 2000: An Enumeration by Region, State and County Based on Data Reported by 149 Religious Bodies. Nashville, TN: Glenmary Research Center.



Errata



Copyright 2012