United States Census on Religious Groups is Nearing Completion

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

There are about 200 different religious denominations or separately organized denominational subdivisions in the United States functioning through about 225,000 local units, according to Leon E. Truesdell, Chief Statistician for Population of the United States Census Bureau.

This census is taken once in 10 years. The tabulation of the 1926 census is now nearing completion.

“It is rather commonly assumed by those interested in this subject that all or nearly all of the various denominations publish statistics of their own membership and activities in their year books or in other publications,” Mr. Truesdell said. “A careful study of the situation shows that while a few denominations have well organized statistical departments and many other denominations publish considerable statistical material which is obtained incidentally in connection with their annual conventions and otherwise, the statistics thus obtained do not in any case cover all of the items which were agreed upon as essential to the census of religious bodies in preliminary conferences attended by representatives of the principal denominations.

“Further, there are many denominations which publish no statistics whatever; and even among those denominations which do publish statistics there is a wide variation both in the items published and in the methods employed for collecting the data. For these reasons it has been found necessary, in order to insure completeness and uniformity, to base the census reports for all denominations upon returns secured directly from the individual churches, congregations, and other local organizations. This method has the further advantage of giving the census reports an independent foundation.

“The primary task involved in the census of religious bodies is, therefore, to secure from each local unit of some 200 different religious denominations or separately organized denominational subdivisions a report giving information with regard to its membership, property, expenditures, and activities. The whole number of local organizations from which schedules have to be secured is about 225,000.

“The schedules are now being tabulated with a view to issuing a series of press summaries giving the most important of the figures for each denomination, and a series of bulletins giving the statistics in greater detail and giving also a statement of the denominational history, doctrine, and organization. The denominational statements are prepared or approved in each case by some person occupying a position of prominence or authority in the denomination concerned.

“Upon the completion of the series of denominational bulletins, these will be bound together to form one volume of the final report of the census of religious bodies. A second volume will present general tables covering all denominations, arranged by States, cities and counties, together with certain analytical and explanatory material which relates to the general results of the census rather than to the figures for any particular denomination, the Chief Statistician stated.

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