One of the most fascinating aspects of American religion is the peculiarity of its distribution across the United States. We know that large swaths of New England are dominated by mainline Protestants and white Catholics, while parts of South Florida have large Jewish enclaves, and Utah is the base for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Seeing these geographic affiliations up close, however, means looking at religious populations at the county level, which is notoriously difficult. Many local religious bodies do not keep accurate membership rolls, and among the influential non-denominational Christian congregations, there is by definition no central recordkeeping about weekly attendance or even the number of houses of worship.
To remedy that, the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies conducts a decennial census with the aim of collecting information about the number of “congregations, members, adherents, and attendees” of as many religious groups as possible, including county data. This group has just released preliminary data from its collection efforts in 2020 and posted it in the Association of Religion Data Archives. Given that the Religion Census has been conducted for decades, it’s possible to measure religious change at the county level, too.
Keep reading this article on Christian Today.