Religion in America Census



8 comments
by John Turner

Mormons up a lot, mainline Protestants down quite a bit, and the overall rate of church affiliation falling.

The Association of Religion Data Archives recently released its 2010 Religion Census, providing yet another snapshot of the changing face of American religion.

Among the most interesting findings:

1) The robust growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I frequently read on LDS blogs that Mormon growth has stagnated. If so, such stagnation is coming on the heels of an astouding increase in membership:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gained the most regular members in the last 10 years, growing by nearly 2 million a total of 6.14 million adherents in 13,600 congregations.

Some of the church’s largest percentage gains were in places such as Tazewell County, Virginia; Bath County, Kentucky; and Big Horn County, Montana.  As Romney makes his historic run to be the first Mormon president, there are few places on the 2012 campaign trail he will go where people are not close to a Latter-day Saint congregation or neighbors who share his faith.

2) The cratering of mainline Protestantism (an interesting story alongside Jason Lantzer's post below):

Mainline Protestant churches lost an average of 12.8 percent of adherents in the first decade of the 21st century.

3) A continuing disconnect between a Catholic church with an enormous membership and a small percentage of "active" members. Overall, Catholic membership declined slightly, to 59 million.

4) Increasing diversity across the entire country. Mormons are the fastest-growing religious group in some thirty states, but Salt Lake City has continued to become a more religiously diverse community.



8 comments:

Edward J. Blum at: May 4, 2012 at 9:29 AM said...

all those millions of Mormons ... they really should know the history of Brigham Young better, I think. Wish there was some readable new book on him.

Kevin M. Schultz at: May 4, 2012 at 12:11 PM said...

Yeah, Ed, I agree. I'm surprised some major press like Harvard University Press doesn't have something like that coming out in September.

John G. Turner at: May 4, 2012 at 12:48 PM said...

If only the Church would make it required reading for new members, old members, etc.

Edward J. Blum at: May 4, 2012 at 1:01 PM said...

maybe purchase copies for all baptized into the church

Apuleius Platonicus at: May 5, 2012 at 4:03 PM said...

All those millions of Christians ... they really should know more about the history of their religion.

Mark Silk at: May 6, 2012 at 1:43 PM said...

N.B. As Peggy Fletcher Stack of the Salt Lake Tribune, has managed to dig out, the size of the Mormon increase is bogus: the LDS Church has just changed the way it counts. See http://bit.ly/IzHY1k. And for my addendum on why this is merely an exacerbation of a pre-existing condition, see: http://bit.ly/J5jrwx.

John G. Turner at: May 6, 2012 at 6:21 PM said...

Thanks, Mark.

Here's a link to a RNS piece (via Huff Post):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/05/how-did-mormons-grow-so-f_n_1479579.html

You're quite right. The 40+% growth rate isn't legitimate, but an 18% increase is still tops among American religious groups.

John G. Turner at: May 6, 2012 at 6:21 PM said...

Thanks, Mark.

Here's a link to a RNS piece (via Huff Post):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/05/how-did-mormons-grow-so-f_n_1479579.html

You're quite right. The 40+% growth rate isn't legitimate, but an 18% increase is still tops among American religious groups.

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