Interfaith Cities USA Report

Interfaith Cities USA Report

A study measuring religious bodies in the United States called the, “2010 U.S. Religious Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study (RCMS)” was recently released by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB). The most comprehensive study of its kind, it provides detailed county by county information on congregations, members, adherents and attendance for 236 different faiths groups. (The survey differentiates between specific denominations within the same tradition.)

Of metropolitan areas with population greater than a million, the researchers found the greater area of Phoenix, AZ to be the most religiously diverse, and the greater area of Birmingham, AL to be the least religiously diverse.

The study used the Simpson’s Index of Diversity to measure the degree of religious diversity. This index measures the probability that two individuals taken an random are adherents of different religious traditions. People were categorized as Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Mormon, Protestant, Other Christian and Eastern religion adherents for the purposes of this measurement. The researchers define adherents to be those with an affiliation to a congregation including children, members and attendees who are not members, and believe that the adherent measure is the most complete and comparable across religious groups.

At the time of the study, Phoenix had about 1.57 million religious adherents of whom 42.75 percent identified as Protestant adherents, 33.55 percent as Catholic adherents, 16.33 percent as Mormon adherents, 3.04 percent as Eastern religion adherents, 1 percent as Other Christian adherents, 0.88 percent as Jewish adherents and 0.46 percent as Muslim adherents.

phoenix religious diversity copy

Birmingham had around 800,000 religious adherents of whom 89.63 percent identified as Protestant adherents, 8.11 percent as Catholic adherents, 0.91 percent as Mormon adherents, 0.51 percent as Jewish adherents, 0.46 percent as Muslim adherents, 0.22 percent as Other Christian adherents, and 0.14 percent as Eastern Religion adherents.

birmingham religious diversity copy

Grammich, Clifford, Kirk Hadaway, Richard Houseal, Dale E. Jones, Alexei Krindatch, Richie Stanley, and Richard H. Taylor, 2012. 2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study. Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.