Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2009 U.S. Church Growth

Excerpts of Yearbook stats show SBC, ABC losing members again in 2009

NEW YORK (ABP) -- Catholic, Mormon and Assembly of God churches all posted membership gains in 2009, while mainline denominations including the American Baptist Churches USA, lost members, according to an annual report by the National Council of Churches. And the Southern Baptist Convention -- the nation's second-largest faith group -- saw its membership decline for the second consecutive year.

The NCC's 2010 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches reported membership of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States -- the largest of 227 national church bodies included in the report -- at 68 million. That represents growth of 1.49 percent, after a slight membership loss in 2009.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (No. 4) grew 1.71 percent to 5,873,408 members. The Assemblies of God grew 1.27 percent to 2,863,265 members, passing the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to become America's ninth-largest religious body.

Membership in the SBC, the second-largest denomination behind Catholics, dropped 0.24 percent to 16,228,438 members. That follows a similar loss of 0.24 percent reported in the yearbook last year.

The 10 largest church groups reported in the 2010 yearbook are:

1. The Catholic Church, 68,115,001 members, up 1.49 percent.
2. Southern Baptist Convention, 16,228,438 members, down 0.24 percent.
3. The United Methodist Church, 7,853,987 members, down 0.98 percent.
4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5,974,041 members, up 1.71 percent.
5. The Church of God in Christ, 5,499,875 members, no membership updates reported.
6. National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc, 5 million members, no membership updates reported.
7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 4,633,887 members, down1.62 percent.
8. National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., 3.5 million members, no membership updates reported.
9. Assemblies of God (ranked 10 last year), 2,899,702 members, up 1.27 percent.
10. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (ranked 9 last year), 2,844,952 members, down 3.28 percent.

With 2.5 million members each, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, National Missionary Baptist Convention of America and Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., all tied for 11th.

American Baptist Churches came in at No. 20, just ahead of the 1.2 million-member Baptist Bible Fellowship International (ranked 22 last year).

Jehovah's Witnesses moved up to No. 22 with a 2 percent increase to 1,114,009 members, passing the United Church of Christ, which lost nearly 3 percent of its members to drop to 1,111,691.

The Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) moved up a notch from last year's No. 25 spot, increasing 1.76 percent to 1,072,169 members.


Andrew Piereder said...

A perfect example of sloppy journalism.

The figures are almost entirely meaningless because their is no reporting consistency between churches, no indicate of out-flows to say, agnosticism or outright atheism. No consideration given to the reality that a Baptist switching to Assemblies of God is merely intramural play, shedding no light at all on Protestant 'market-share'.

It would be nice for some anthropologist to conduct a regular survey of philosophical allegiance with associated demographics. Someone probably has, but it remains too obscure for me to find...

Clair Barrus said...

I agree. It would be great to see a detailed study by qualified anthropologists -- to get a better understanding of exactly what is happening.