Presbyterian Panel Survey, 2006-2008 - Background Survey, Members and Elders

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > Religious Groups > Members or Leaders > Presbyterian > Summary


These data come from the background survey of the 2006-2008 Presbyterian Panel Study. The 3,742 member panel consists of 1,099 members, 1,164 elders and 1,469 clergy. This dataset includes responses from the 2,273 members and elders on that panel. A majority of the questions were identical for all groups sampled, but a small number of questions were varied for the lay and clerical samples. This dataset profiles Presbyterians as a people, describing them as a faith community (beliefs, church backgrounds, and levels of church involvement) and as a social and demographic community (age, sex, marital status, living arrangements, etc.).

Data File
Cases: 2,273
Variables: 137
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: October 2005
Funded By
Congregational Ministries Division, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Collection Procedures
Data were collected by self-administered mail and web-based surveys. "In the initial mailing on October 21, 2005, each sampled individual was sent a 9”x12” envelope (personally addressed) containing the following materials: a letter encouraging participation from Rick Ufford-Chase, Moderator of the 216th General Assembly, on the moderator’s letterhead with pre-printed signature in blue ink (not personally addressed); a personally-addressed cover letter, with pre-printed signature in blue ink, from John P. Marcum, Panel Administrator; a tri-fold brochure describing the Panel in a question-and-answer format; a questionnaire; and a postage-paid, business-reply envelope. (Overall design of the survey and the mailings followed the “Tailored Design Method”; see Dillman, 2000.)" (Technical Notes: Religious and Demographic Profile of Presbyterians 2005)

"All individuals who had not yet responded were mailed a reminder postcard on November 4, 2005. A second reminder, including cover letter, replacement copy of the questionnaire, Q&A brochure, and postage-paid reply envelope, was sent on November 18, 2005, to all sampled persons who had not yet responded. A third reminder, with cover letter, replacement copy of the questionnaire, Q&A brochure, and postage-paid reply envelope was sent on December 30, 2005, to all remaining non-respondents." (Technical Notes)

Populations
"The Panel consists of three samples, each drawn from a separate constituency group, or population, of persons affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The PC(USA) consists of congregations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico." (Technical Notes)

Members
"The member sample was drawn from the population of all active members of congregations affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (i.e., persons listed on the active membership rolls of these congregations; see PC(USA) Book of Order, G-5.0202), with the following exclusions: elders currently serving on session and persons unable to complete a mailed survey." (Technical Notes)

"At the end of 2004, the total active membership of the PC(USA) was 2,362,136. Subtracting the 106,4191 active elders, the approximate population for the member sample was 2,255,717." (Technical Notes)

Elders
"The population of elders is defined as the subset of active members of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations: (1) who have been ordained to the office of elder by a PC(USA) church (or a church affiliated with one of its predecessor denominations) and (2) who are currently serving on the session of a PC(USA) congregation. (See Book of Order,
G-6.0101 through G-6.0108, and G-6.0300 through G-6.0304.) At the end of 2004, the population of elders serving on session was 106,419 (this figure is estimated; 1,475 congregations (13.4%) did not report their number of elders)." (Technical Notes)
Sampling Procedures
"Three representative samples were drawn, one from each of the three populations, using probability techniques." (Technical Notes)

Members
"Lacking exhaustive, national lists of all active members in PC(USA) congregations, we implemented a two-stage sampling process for members and elders. For members, we used proportional stratified sampling to draw a sample of 500 congregations from the national total of 11,019. Congregational strata were based on region, race ethnicity, and membership size. Each sampled congregation was then asked to draw eight member names, using a random process, as described below." (Technical Notes)

Elders
First, the number of elders was imputed for each congregation that had not reported a number for 2005, based on the mean number of elders for congregations of similar membership size. Then, using proportional stratified sampling, we drew a sample of 401 congregations from the national total of 11,019, based on region, race ethnicity, and session size (i.e., number of elders currently serving on session). Each sampled congregation was then asked to draw eight elder names, using a random process. (Technical Notes)

Response Rates
"Overall response rates, by sample: members, 58%; elders, 79%; and ordained ministers, 66%.” (Marcum, data appendix, 2006)." (Technical Notes)
Principal Investigators
Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and John P. Marcum, Panel Administrator
Related Publications
Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Religious and Demographic Profile of Presbyterians 2005. Louisville, KY, 2006.