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Best Resources

Best Resources for Demographic Research

Current and Historic Demographic Information For Your Parish

The Association of Religion Data stores select data collections from premier research teams and scholars and organizes its more than 500 data sets to ensure usability for scholars, researchers and the public. Its religion maps show demographic and church membership information, and the QuickStats and QuickLists pages show survey findings on Americans’ religious beliefs, behaviors, affiliations, attitudes and experiences.

The Hartford Institute for Religion Research conducts and publishes the results of research into a wide variety of questions about faith practice in the United States. You can, for example, explore a profile of the people who attend megachurches or see the percent of women clergy in each major denomination. Additional demographic information has been culled from institute research projects and condensed into short reports that are included on the Quick Questions page. For more demographic information, explore the topic headings and subheadings listed on the institute’s home page.

Faith Communities Today (FACT) disseminates information gathered through biannual surveys of America’s religiously diverse congregations, conducted by a consortium of more than 25 U.S. faith communities and scholars. The data provides information about the ethnic, racial and faith populations and publishes periodic articles highlighting particularly interesting discoveries about survey question responses or faith group trends.

The National Congregations Study is an ongoing national survey of America’s diverse worship communities that collects data over time about congregations’ social composition, structure, activities and programs. The study’s website allows visitors to work directly with survey responses to identify basic facts about each question the survey asked, and to create customized tables comparing survey questions that interest the visitor.

The National Study of Youth and Religion has been collecting data on the religious lives of American youth since 2001, in part by asking questions about the religious lives and beliefs of youth and in part by following up with the same populations as they mature into young adulthood. The website links to news releases and articles describing findings, their data sets archived on ARDA, and books published about the data.

Demographic data kept by seminaries and schools of religion are published by the Association of Theological Schools, making the association a valuable source of information about the men and women who pursue various ministry and religion degrees. The association also publishes annual data tables detailing key demographics of its member institutions.

Additional demographic information about clergy can be found on the Pulpit & Pew website. The Pulpit & Pew project was conducted by Duke Divinity School from 2001 to 2005 to assess the state of the pastorate in the U.S. at the turn of the millennium.

You can find additional demographic information in the Insights into Religion Research section.

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