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Data From Religious Study Available

The U.S. Congregational Life Survey is the largest study of religion in the United States. The original survey, Wave I, was conducted in 2001, and included 300,000 worshipers in over 2,000 congregations, as well as their clergy leaders. Also included were church profiles. Unlike most such surveys that rely on a relatively small sampling of worshipers and a short list of questions, the USCLS asked a core body of 56 questions to everyone aged 15 or older who was present at worship on the survey day. In 2008-09, the USCLS team conducted a follow up survey, Wave II,  which has increased the total number of responses to 500,000 people in over 5,000 faith communities. Among other things, the two waves make it possible for researchers to see how U.S. religious beliefs and practices have changed over time

As part of the study, denomination-based researchers were invited to include targeted survey questions to their own congregants that surveyed issues of denominational interest or concern. The Association of Religion Data Archives, an online location for archiving quality surveys and studies of religion, is the repository for the resulting general and denomination-specific survey databases. You can explore the available databases from 2001 and 2008-09 on the U.S. Congregational Life Survey page of ARDA. More archived databases can be found on the Data Archive page, where you will find links to more than 775 data files from surveys of religious practice in the U.S. and around the world. For more help researching congregations, see our feature article, "Best Resources for Congregational Research."



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