Wednesday, February 9, 2011
How Many Unchurched People in Your Area?
Do you know how many unchurched people live in your county? What about which religious bodies are growing the most in your metro area or state? Thanks to the Glenmary Research Center and also The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) you can get answers to these questions and more.
The Glenmary folks publish Religious Congregations and Membership in the United States. The first edition was published in the early 1980s. Two other editions have appeared, with the most recent being Religious Congregations and Membership in the United States 2000. The next edition Religious Congregations and Membership in the United States 2010 should be available June 2012. Call 513-881-7497or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on their mailing list to receive notice of publication.
You can also view this information on-line at www.thearda.com. ARDA is an Internet-based archive that stores and distributes information from over 200 major data collections in American religion. It is supported by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., and is housed at The Pennsylvania State University.
If you go to thearda.com click on the US Congregational Membership tab at the top of the page. From there select reports. There you can search by county, metro area, state or even the entire United States.
Here is what I found for Howard County in Indiana. In the year 2000 45% of the population was unchurched or unclaimed. This is lower than the state figure of 50%. Kokomo is more churched than the state as a whole. Kokomo is the largest city in Howard County. I also found that between 1990 and 2000 the Catholic Church grew the most, adding almost 2,300 members. The Friends declined the most, closing six meetings and losing 1,129 adherents.
What is happening in your ministry area?