SGI-USA Membership Survey, 1997

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


After the success of a survey of British Soka Gakkai, a Japanese based religion (a form of Buddhism), a counterpart survey in the United States was undertaken. Many of the items included in the U.S. survey (SGIUSA) reproduced questions from the National Opinion Research Center's General Social Survey (GSS), making direct comparisons possible between members of Soka Gakkai and the general American public. Other questions reproduced items included in the survey of SGI members in the United Kingdom. Consequently, this survey provides one of the most comprehensive surveys of an alternative religion in the United States, a survey which is comparable to both a similar sample in the United Kingdom and the general population of the United States.

Data File
Cases: 401
Variables: 336
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: The data were collected in the spring and summer of 1997.
Funded By
Boston Research Center for the 21st Century
Collection Procedures
The data were collected using a self-administered survey. In April 1997, 1,185 questionnaires were sent to members of Soka Gakkai International in the United States (SGI-USA). Respondents were randomly chosen from the subscriber lists of the four major SHI-USA publications and stratified to match the distribution of subscribers in each of the major territories (as defined by SGI-USA) in the United States. Four hundred and one completed surveys are included in the data. This yielded a final response rate of 37 percent.
Sampling Procedures
The target population was the membership of Soka Gakkai International-USA. The sampling universe was all subscribers to the four major SGI-USA publications: The World Tribune and Living Buddhism (English-language publications); Seikyo Shimbun, and Daibyaku Renge (Japanese-language publications). The sample was drawn randomly from the list of all subscribers and stratified to reflect the regional distribution of SGI-USA members.
Principal Investigators
Phillip E. Hammond
Related Publications
Hammond, Phillip and David Machacek. 1998. "The Soka Gakkai Membership Study." In U. Nembach (ed), Informationes Theologie Europae Internationales Okumenisches Jahrbuch fur Theologie. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Hammond, Phillip and David Machacek. 1998. "Supply and Demand: The Appeal of American Buddhism." In D. Williams and C. Queen (eds.), American Buddhism: Methods and Findings in Recent Scholarship. Richmond, Surrey, Great Britain: Curzon Press. (Reprinted in P. Hammond. 2000. The Dynamics of Religious Organizations: The Extravasation of the Sacred and Other Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press.)

Machacek, David. 1999. "The Appeal of Soka Gakkai in the United States: Emergent Transmodernism." In J. Greer and D. Moberg (eds.), Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 10.

Hammond, Phillip and David Machacek. 1999. Soka Gakkai in America: Accommodation and Conversion. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Japanese translation, Tokyo: Kinokuniyo, 2000).

Machacek, David and Kerry Mitchell. Fall 2000. "Immigrant Buddhists in America." In Machacek and Wilson (eds.), Global Citizens. Oxford: Oxford University Press.