US religion survey finds growth among evangelicals, Catholics
A Catholic research group in the United States has found that the country's Mormon church and evangelical faiths grew during the past decade while more liberal Protestant denominations shrank.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints grew at the fastest rate, with the Pentecostal denomination Assemblies of God following closely behind, the 2000 Religious Congregations & Membership study found.
Catholics remained the largest denomination in the country, growing 16% to 62 million believers. The Mormon church grew about 19% to 4.2 million members, while the Assemblies of God grew nearly as quickly to 2.6 million. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was among moderate and liberal Protestant denominations posting a significant loss, dropping by nearly 12% to 3.1 million. Mainline Protestant churches have been losing members for decades.
The Catholic Church also posted strong growth while its population shifted.
"That has a lot to do with the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States," said researcher Clifford Grammich, who collected Catholic figures for the study. "How well the church has been holding onto Hispanic Catholics, a study like this can't determine."
The survey is conducted once a decade and was released on Tuesday. The latest version includes Muslims for the first time, finding 1.6 million in the United States. The count was lower by millions than some other surveys, but researchers said the figure was only a tally of those active in mosques, not the total American Muslim population. Estimates of all Muslims vary dramatically from 2 million to 6 million.
The study was conducted by the Glenmary Research Center in Nashville, a Catholic research and social service organisation that coordinates the study with analysts from several faiths.
Glenmary Research Centre | Information about Study
19 Sep 2002