Current Data

The most recent general statistical information about religious groups.

Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1973-. [Ref. BR513.Y42 (back issues in stacks)]

Contains statistical data based on reports from U.S. and Canadian denominations; in 1996, 99 U.S. and 49 Canadian religious bodies contributed data. Not every denomination reports annual figures, and each denomination determines its own statistical criteria. Detailed information is included only for religious groups which identify themselves as distinctively Christian; the yearbook is published under the auspices of the National Council of Churches of Christ. Reported data includes membership figures, financial contributions (both as percentage change from last year and as raw numbers), per capita contribution levels, and the number of congregations, clergy, and Sunday schools. The yearbook also tracks seminary enrollment, including tables for women and ethnic minorities from data supplied by the Association of Theological Schools.

Mead, Frank Spencer. Handbook of Denominations in the United States. New 10th ed. Revised by Samuel S. Hill. Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1995. [Ref. BL2525.M425 1995 (back issues in stacks)]

An excellent general introduction to U.S. "denominations," including movements like Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Unitarian Universalism. Contains limited statistical information, including only the number of congregations and total membership based on data collected 1991-1993.

 Melton, J. Gordon. Encyclopedia of American Religions. 6th ed. Detroit: Gale Research, 1999. [Ref. BL2525.M449 1999]

Includes descriptive entries on over 2,100 religious groups in North America, with historical information, current membership, and bibliographic references. The particular strengths of this encyclopedia are its attention to non-Christian religious groups and to new and small religious movements; it also includes descriptions of defunct religious movements of the recent past.

The World Almanac and Book of Facts. New York: Press Pub. Co. (The New York World), 1923-. [Ref. AY67.N5 W7 (current issue only)]

Summarizes information available in other sources. Includes membership figures gathered by the Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches; continental distributions of world religions as tabulated by the Encyclopedia Britannica Book of the Year; various religious calendars; and a current list of the North American members of the Roman Catholic College of Cardinals.

Available online in the "Reference" section of LexisNexis™ [Valid Harvard ID and PIN required.]

Britannica Book of the Year. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1938-. [Ref. AE5.E364 (Andover-Harvard has 1993-1996 only; search HOLLIS for locations of other years)]

Contains articles on significant annual developments in each major religious group. Also reports the continental distributions and national (U.S.) distributions of major religions. The World Data section includes religious affiliation statistics for each nation. Current data is available in the online version.

Religion in America. The Gallup Opinion Index. Princeton, N.J.: American Institute of Public Opinion. [Ref. BL2530.U6 R4 (back issues in stacks)]

Reports the results of ongoing polls of American religious beliefs and practices, with some interpretive commentary. This index tracks broad and general trends only.