* Data is updated decenially in conjunction with the decennial U.S. Census.
Figures are sums of individual group responses to the Religion Census. Use great caution in comparing 2010 to prior years of this census, particularly for non-Christian groups. Groups vary widely with their definitions of congregations and members; adherents and adherent rate are the most comparable across groups. However, black Protestant Christian churches are known to be undercounted; see URL for details. Data used with permission of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.
Years Available: 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010
Permanent Link: http://data.sagepub.com/sagestats/4330
General Notes: *Median value gives the value for the "average" county for this metric, the 50th percentile of all counties reporting data. **ARDA relied on several sources to classify Standard Families. These included an article co-authored by Brian Steensland, Jerry Park, Mark Regnerus, Lynn Robinson, Bradford Wilcox and Robert Woodberry entitled "The Measure of American Religion: Toward Improving the State of the Art, " published in SocialForces (2000, 79: 291-318). The authors justify the major categories used by ARDA and classify most of the groups that participated in the 2010 U.S. Religion Census. When groups were not included in their classification, ARDA classified them based on information given in J. Gordon Melton’s Encyclopedia of American Religions (7th edition) and Frank S. Mead and Samuel S. Hill’s Handbook of Denominations in the United States (12th edition). 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. For more information on how Black Protestant groups were counted, visit the "Original link" listed below.