Yet another interesting map from the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. This gets at how varied, or diverse, religious affiliation is in different regions of the country. As you can see, the areas with the most diversity also tend to have the lowest rates of adherence, which would seem counter-intuitive–at least from the perspective of Rational Choice theory. One might expect that more offerings, i.e., more types of religions, would promote greater involvement in religion.
Protestantism, and its decline, has been in the news a lot this week with a Pew study that the percentage of Protestants in the US has fallen below 50%.
Seemed like a good time to show a map of the distribution of Protestant denominations throughout the country. This map is from the always interesting Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, and it highlights the strong regional flavor of Protestantism. (Click to make font more readable. Also, it’s mislabeled as Protestant “Groups” because it doesn’t show non-denominational Protestants.)
Like so much in America social geography, religion went from East to West until the Rockies, and what happened on the West coast is a bit of a jumble. It also speaks to the historical influence of Methodists, who have probably lost more of the population in the last century than any other religious group.
In my continuing research over Asian American diversity, one of the recurring issues is religious diversity. I blogged earlier that Asian Americans are the least Christian of all racial groups in the US. About 46% of those who are Asian American are either Protestant or Catholic according to multilingual surveys. So the other 54% are a combination of non-Christian religions and those who say they have “no religion” (which is a tricky issue when we talk to Asian Americans). Of the non-Christian religious adherents among Asian Americans, the biggest three are Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. There’s some debate over what percent of Buddhists are Asian (versus white) and what percentage of Muslims are Asian (should we count Middle Easterners as Asian or White?). But nevertheless where there are Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, there are likely Asian Americans.
One of the neat resources made available by the Association of Religion Data Archives are county-level maps of religious groups supplied by the Religious Congregations and Membership Study. And as of their data collection in 2010, we have enough data to map adherents of non-Christian faith traditions by county. I recently had a chance to study a few of these maps (which are all free and online by the way), and would like to share them with you here. This is a map of Hindu adherents according to 5 equal-sized groupings or quintiles. The Hindu-Asian connection is clearest since the vast majority of Hindus in the US are south Asian. [Read more…]
One of the joys of studying religion is how much high-quality data are available. For the latest “wow, that’s cool” source of data, check out this interactive map of religion in the United States. Put a cursor over a state and you see the religious distribution of its population. Want to see trends by region? Just move your cursor slowly across groups of states and watch how the bars change.
Thanks David Mimms and Kyndria Brown for the link.