Religious Characteristics of States Dataset, Phase 1: Demographics (RCS)

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The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset, Phase 1: Demographics (RCS) reports estimates of religious demographics, country by country. RCS was created to fulfill the unmet need for a dataset on the religious dimensions of countries of the world, with the state-year as the unit of observation. It covers 202 states plus 22 selected non-state political entities, for every year from 2010 back to 1900 and often 1800 (more than 32,000 state-years). It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 87 religious denominations including second level subdivisions within Christianity and Islam, along with several complex categories such as "Western Christianity." RCS is designed for easy merger with other country-year datasets commonly used by international relations specialists such as the Correlates of War and Polity datasets.

Data File
Cases: 32,629
Variables: 214
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: October 2013 to December 2014
Original Survey (Instrument)
RCS Demographics Codebook V1.1
Funded By
Maryville University Work Study Grant
Collection Procedures
The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset, Phase 1: Demographics (RCS) covers 202 states, in addition to 22 selected sub-state entities, up to the year 2010, with most of them beginning at the year 1900 or earlier. Twenty micro-states are not yet included. There are 32,629 state-years covered, for a total of 6,721,574 individual data points (including populations, percentages, and string-variable descriptions, but not including descriptor variables). For the precise coverage of each state or sub-state entities, please see the codebook section Appendix A in the RCS Demographics Codebook above.

Four countries are double-counted due to ambiguities in their sovereign status or in which other state they belong: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Syria, and the West Bank. A table detailing the time period of and rationale for double-counting them is provided at the end of Appendix A in the codebook available for download.

A taxonomy of religions covered in RCS, along with their numerical identifiers, is provided at Appendix D.

The source of each population or percentage estimate, or the method by which it is derived, is documented for every data point. This information is not provided in the final release due to considerations of space; the documentation is contained within several hundred Excel worksheets with a total size of 1.6 Gigabytes. The working files will be made available by the author upon request and supply of storage media. Additional details from the primary researcher discussing population estimates sources population or percentage within each religious denomination are found in the codebook.

Intercoder reliability checks were performed on estimates of populations that were (1) obtained from multi-volume almanacs, or (2) derived by collapsing narrower categories of churches into broader subdivisions of Christianity. Tests on five percent random samples were performed on data obtained from the following sources: the CIA World Factbook, the Kettani article series, the World Churches Handbook, and the World Christian Encyclopedia. The Intercoder reliability rate was 85 percent or higher in all four tests.
Sampling Procedures
Direct observations of populations and percentages in selected country-years are obtained primarily from official government sources and 24 secondary sources (all of which are listed in the Codebook). Each direct source is documented and the methodology for selecting sources is outlined in the Codebook.

Estimates between direct observations are interpolated primarily via exponential curves, polynomial curves, and linear increments of percentages. Estimates beyond first or last direct observations are extrapolated in a similar manner. Guidelines for selecting methodologies are outlined in the Codebook.
Principal Investigators
Dr. Davis Brown, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Maryville University of St. Louis
Dr. Patrick James, Dornsife Dean's Professor of International Relations, University of Southern California
Related Publications
An article of record is in progress.

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