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United States Census of Religious Bodies, Expanded State File, 1906




The United States Census of Religious Bodies is, as the name suggests, a census of religious organizations, not a census of individuals (the U.S. Census collected data on religious organizations through the 1936 census). This census provides measures of the number of organizations, number of edifices, seating capacity, property value, and number of members in various denominations, by geographic unit. This is the first of four complete surveys on the subject of religious bodies undertaken by the U.S. Bureau of the Census (followed by the 1916, 1926, and 1936 censuses). The data are organized by states (states are the cases).

Data File

Cases: 49
Variables: 904
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection


Funded By

U.S. Government

Collection Procedures

The Bureau of the Census contacted the leaders of each identifiable denomination in the United States. The denominations supplied lists of churches, which were used to create contacts with local church leaders. Church leaders provided the statistics in this dataset. Churches that did not respond were sent several follow-up surveys and finally, if they still did not respond, were visited by a census worker. Due to the variation in who is counted as a member from denomination to denomination, it is suggested that the Roman Catholic population be reduced by 15 percent in the 1906 census (see the 1936 Census of Religious Bodies for further details, Department of Census, 1940).

Sampling Procedures

Every identifiable denomination, based on lists of churches and religious organizations from yearbooks, denominations, and other sources, were contacted. Cults with no identifiable membership and interdenominational organizations were not included in the population of interest.

Principal Investigators

Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census

Related Publications

Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census. Census of Religious Bodies, 1906, Part I: Summary and General Tables. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1910.

Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of the Census. Census of Religious Bodies, 1906, Part II: Separate Denominations. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1910.

Note on Variables

This dataset contains five main variables for each religious group in 1906:
--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 state in the 1906 Census.

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