Churches and Church Membership in the United States, 1971 (States)

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

This data set contains statistics by state on Christian churches and membership for 1971. Fifty-three denominations are included, representing an estimated 81 percent of church membership in the United States.
Data File
Cases: 50
Variables: 164
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: 1971-1973
Funded By
Aid Association for Lutherans
Office of Research, Evaluations and Planning of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (New York)

Department of Research and Statistics of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (St. Louis).
Glenmary Research Center (Washington, D.C.)
Sampling Procedures
Every denomination listed in the Yearbook of American Churches was approached and asked to participate in the study. Self-report forms were completed by all participating religious bodies.
Principal Investigators
Glenmary Research Center, Washington, D.C.
Related Publications
Johnson, D.W., P. Picard, and Bernard Quinn (1974). Churches and Church Membership in the United States. Glenmary Research Center: Washington, D.C.
Other Related Information
The following is taken from Johnson, D.W., P. Picard, and Bernard Quinn (1974).
Defining Membership: The most critical methodological problem was that of defining church membership. Since there is no generally acceptable definition of church membership, it was felt that the designation of members rested finally with the denominations themselves. In an effort to achieve comparability of data, however, two major categories were established: "communicant, confirmed or full members," and "total adherents."

Since it was planned to use total adherents in computing percent of church membership to total population, in cases where denominations reported only communicant, confirmed or full members, total adherents were estimated by computer according to the following procedure. The total county population was divided by the total county population less children 13 years and under, and the resulting figure was multiplied by the confirmed members. The first count 1970 U.S. Census tapes were used to determine for each county the population 13 years and under.
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