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“To represent the religious history of America statistically and geographically is to generalize dangerously to court disaster openly.”
(Source: New Historical Atlas of Religion in America)
Statistics on religion, like most other statistics, must be interpreted with a critical eye. Data on religion may be reported at either the insitutional level or the individual level. That is, there are surveys of religious insitutions themselves and there are surveys of individuals and their self-reported attitudes and affilitiations. Keep in mind that surveys of religious institutions are also self-reporting, so over-reporting of membership is more likely that under-reporting. The diversity of religious organizations and varying definitions of membership can also have an effect on comparing membership numbers among different organizations. Some organizations may not share reports with the public, or even keep numbers. There has been no government-mandated count of religious organizations since the last Religious Bodies census taken in 1936.
Most of the resources that you encounter in this guide will have a disclaimer explaining the collection method and nature of the data. Be sure to read this section!
Population: Religion. This section includes tables on the religious composition of the U.S. population, selected data on religious bodies, and numbers of Christian adherents and the Jewish population by state.
Some of the major organizations involved in research on religion include:
This comprehensive resource is more than just a data archive! Also included are National Profiles, reports and maps of U.S. Congregational Membership, information on Denominations, QuickStats from major national surveys, ranked lists of religious groups, maps, and a Learning Center.
Adherents.com is a collection of more than 41,000 "adherent statistics and religious geography citations." It has no specific affiliation and claims to be the second most frequently visited general religion site on the internet. It provides access to statistics on religious groups broken down by geographical area and by name of faith group.
Use for quick look ups. Oxford Reference Online contains dictionaries, encyclopedias, and Oxford Companions on a wide variety of topics. Brief entries and information about art, biology, business, classics, computing, environmental science, economics, history, language, law, literature, medicine, physical science, political science, quotations, religion and philosophy, and science.
Wiley Online Library (formerly Blackwell Reference Online) is a vast online library giving instant access to the most authoritative and up-to-date scholarship across the humanities and social sciences.
Off Campus Access
ACCESSING ONLINE RESOURCES from OFF-CAMPUS
Online databases and electronic journals subscribed to by the UST
Libraries are licensed for use by the St. Thomas community ONLY.
Because of this restriction, we need to verify that anyone accessing
these databases is a current member of the St. Thomas community.