Statistics of Churches in the United States, County File, 1890

Data Archive > U.S. Church Membership Data > County-Level > Summary

The Statistics of Churches in the United States was part of the 11th Census, conducted in 1890 (the U.S. Census collected data on religion through the 1936 census, though the 1890 Census was the first to count the number of members). The Census collected data on church seating capacity, property value, number of members, number of edifices ("buildings owned and used for worship"), and number of organizations (churches, mission stations when separate from congregation, chapels when they are separate from churches, and societies or meetings among groups that designate such organizations). The data are organized by counties (counties are the cases). Measures for religions in Indian Territories are also included.

Data File
Cases: 2,753
Variables: 675
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: 1890
Funded By
U.S. Government
Collection Procedures
For ecclesiastical denominations (i.e., local churches are grouped into associations of some sort), the secretaries or clerks responsible for these groups were contacted and asked to furnish the information. In other cases the local churches were directly contacted.
Sampling Procedures
"Every church or denomination having organizations with members or communicants was requested to furnish the information called for by the statistical inquiries. In some instances distinct denominational titles cover hardly a score of members; but no religious body was excluded because its followers were few" (Carroll 1894, xi). When edifices are used by organizations in more than one denomination, the proportion of the edifice belonging to each denomination is a fraction of the whole edifice.
Principal Investigators
Department of the Interior, Census Office
Related Publications
Carroll, Henry K. 1894. Report on Statistics of Churches in the United States at the Eleventh Census: 1890. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
Notes on Variables
This dataset contains five main variables for each religious group in 1890:
--Number of organizations
--Number of edifices
--Approximate seating capacity
--Value of property
--Number of communicants or members

If a religious group lacks one or more of these variables, it did not report this information for any county in the 1890 Census.
Some of the data were recorded from an online scan of the Report on Statistics of Churches in the United States at the Eleventh Census: 1890. Some of the numbers were difficult to read, so there may be minor discrepancies in our datafile.

Bookmark and Share