US Religion Census (going back to 1890)
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  US Religion Census (going back to 1890)
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Author Topic: US Religion Census (going back to 1890)  (Read 674 times)
King of Kensington
Junior Chimp
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« on: February 12, 2024, 12:09:00 AM »

Very useful:

https://www.usreligioncensus.org/report1.php?year=1890
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2024, 11:10:33 AM »

Thank you for posting this!  I really wish this data set had additional fields so we could make more use of it without having to enter it manually.  For example, the second biggest denomination in 1890 was the Methodist Episcopal Church, and I wish it would also be labeled as "Methodist" for denomination and "Protestant" for category or something.

Either way, when I get more free time I plan to make some historical stats using this website.  I think it would be cool to know what the religion landscape was like for decades where period pieces are popular and things like that ... when you watch John Adams set in the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries or Mad Men set in the late 1950s to early 1970s, it is useful to know just how different the nation was demographically to truly enjoy it.  The VERY clear "outsider" status Peggy has simply because she is a Catholic - even though she lives in New York City! - is fascinating.
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dead0man
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« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2024, 03:12:19 PM »

very nice, a lot of good data in there, thank you
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2024, 04:33:33 PM »

Interesting that the Southern Baptists did not overtake the largest Methodist denomination until the 1971 census.  That kind of jives with my novice perception that historically speaking, Methodism was the most "white picket fence," stereotypical US religious denomination.  Baptists are too unique within Protestantism and/or especially connected with one region, Episcopalians are too tied with WASP stereotypes, Lutherans are far too connected to Germanic heritage, etc.

As Ulysses S. Grant said there were "three political parties in the United States: the Republicans, the Democrats and the Methodists."  He might have been biased as one himself, of course!
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King of Kensington
Junior Chimp
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2024, 09:19:15 PM »

From 1952.  Interesting to look at the composition of Protestants in some northern states.

Massachusetts

Congregationalists  194,898
Episcopalians  158,725
Methodists  102,858
Baptists  95,760

New York

Methodists  430,534
Episcopalians  406,965
Lutherans  340,585
Presbyterians  293,694
Baptists  159,359

Pennsylvania

Lutherans  849,251
Methodists  566,972
Presbyterians  508,434
Episcopalians  202,989
Baptists  112,244

Ohio

Methodists  524,062
Lutherans  400,329
Presbyterians  233,677
Baptists  102,765
Episcopalians  92,051

Michigan

Lutherans   335,573
Methodists  255,866
Presbyterians  114,071
Episcopalians  99,350
Congregationalists  70,033
Baptists  62,858

Indiana

Methodists  353,680
Lutherans  145,389
Baptists  102,440
Presbyterians  93,766

Illinois

Methodists  453,313
Lutherans  413,984
Baptists  225,315
Presbyterians  180,300
Congregationalists  93,109
Episcopalians  81,481
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King of Kensington
Junior Chimp
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2024, 02:39:10 PM »

So outside of New England, Methodists or Lutherans were the lead Protestant group in northern states in the mid-20th century.
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2024, 06:34:14 PM »

I'm curious what year Catholics became the largest individual denomination.  Obviously, even now Protestants as a united group are much more numerous than Catholics, and it has been that way for all of American history.  However, Catholics are by far the largest individual group.  This is also the case in the 1890 numbers (6.2 million Roman Catholic vs. 2.2 million Methodist Episcopal Church).

If you go back to 1776, per Wikipedia, the Colonies were only 2.0% Catholic and 20%+ Congregationalist, so obviously this happened sometime between 1776 and 1890.
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RI
realisticidealist
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2024, 07:28:56 PM »
« Edited: February 14, 2024, 07:37:41 PM by RI »

I'm curious what year Catholics became the largest individual denomination.  Obviously, even now Protestants as a united group are much more numerous than Catholics, and it has been that way for all of American history.  However, Catholics are by far the largest individual group.  This is also the case in the 1890 numbers (6.2 million Roman Catholic vs. 2.2 million Methodist Episcopal Church).

If you go back to 1776, per Wikipedia, the Colonies were only 2.0% Catholic and 20%+ Congregationalist, so obviously this happened sometime between 1776 and 1890.

I would assume it happened some time in the 1850-70 period when Irish (and German) immigration made up a majority of immigration into the country. There were about 1.6 million Catholics in 1852 and 3 million by 1860. The 1890 Census estimates Catholics numbered about 4.8 million in 1880.
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King of Kensington
Junior Chimp
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2024, 10:40:19 PM »

Interesting to look at the growth of Catholic populations in the suburbs.

Nassau

1936  72,825  24%
1952  188,337  28%
1971  528,898  37%
1980  547,818  41.5%

DuPage

1936  12,198  13%
1952  33,925  22%
1971  180,370  37%
1980  241,030  37%
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2024, 04:55:21 PM »

Still a ways to go messing around with the data and researching some of these churches, but I think the breakdown of Protestants in the US in 1890 would have been something like this:

34.5% Methodists
27.3% Baptists
9.3% Presbyterians
9.1% Lutheran
4.7% Restorationist
4.0% Anglican
3.8% Congregationalist
3.1% German Reformed
2.6% Anabaptist
0.8% Dutch Reformed
0.4% Adventist
0.4% Holiness
0.1% Non-Denominational
0.1% Moravian

Another fascinating thing is that (at least for those I have categorized correctly), it appears that almost 70% of Protestants practiced infant baptism in 1890.  That has certainly shifted in a more Baptist-like direction in today's climate, in no small part because the more traditional and historically rooted Mainline denominations have bled members much worse than Evangelical groups.
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2024, 05:17:35 PM »

One more interesting note is that the Methodist Episcopal Church was the largest Protestant denomination in every single state except for the following:

Baptist
Alabama
Georgia
Kentucky
Louisiana
Mississippi
Missouri
North Carolina
South Carolina
Rhode Island
Virginia
Washington, DC

Congregationalist
Connecticut
Massachusetts
New Hampshire
Vermont

Lutheran
Minnesota
North Dakota
Wisconsin

Episcopalian
Nevada (really small sample size)

Presbyterian
Alaska (really small sample size)
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2024, 12:18:39 PM »
« Edited: February 21, 2024, 02:00:58 PM by RINO Tom »

I started re-watching Mad Men recently, and it got me really interested in how much the "religious norm" changed between when the show starts (1960, so on the tail end of what we think of as "1950s America") to now.  I found a post on Reddit theorizing what religion each character was, but it made me want to try to map the most popular Protestant denomination by county for 1952 ... this will take me forever, but I at least finished New England and thought I would share:

34 Congregationalist
11 Methodist
9 Episcopalian
8 Northern Baptist

One interesting tidbit is that Connecticut was almost a clean sweep for the Congregationalists, but Fairfield County was Episcopalian (shocker!).  I did find it peculiar that Baptists were so popular in Maine ... any story behind that compared to other New England states?
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King of Kensington
Junior Chimp
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2024, 01:52:07 PM »

Re: Maine, there was a lot of Baptists in the Canadian Maritimes as well.
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Del Tachi
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2024, 05:34:58 PM »

Use this tool to see how big the Mainline Restorationists used to be.  The Disciples of Christ was overall the 8th-largest denomination in 1916 (bigger than the Episcopal Church!)  They were the #3 church in large Midwestern states like Illinois and Indiana, too!
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Del Tachi
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2024, 05:49:00 PM »

From 1952.  Interesting to look at the composition of Protestants in some northern states.

snip


No love for the Restorationists?  You're excluding them from your counts even though they were sometimes much larger than the other groups listed.  Ohio had 156k Disciples of Christ in 1952, for example.  Illinois had 153k. 
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King of Kensington
Junior Chimp
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« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2024, 07:52:39 PM »

Didn't even to think to include them, which shows how much the religious landscape has changed.  Both LBJ and Reagan were Disciples of Christ.
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2024, 11:25:21 PM »

Didn't even to think to include them, which shows how much the religious landscape has changed.  Both LBJ and Reagan were Disciples of Christ.

Reagan is usually classified as Presbyterian, I thought?
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Del Tachi
Republican95
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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2024, 12:39:59 PM »

Didn't even to think to include them, which shows how much the religious landscape has changed.  Both LBJ and Reagan were Disciples of Christ.

Reagan is usually classified as Presbyterian, I thought?

Reagan attended Bel-Air Presbyterian Church beginning in 1963, but he didn't officially place membership with them until after leaving the presidency.  He grew up DOC.
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Del Tachi
Republican95
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« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2024, 04:32:17 PM »

Interesting that the Southern Baptists did not overtake the largest Methodist denomination until the 1971 census.  That kind of jives with my novice perception that historically speaking, Methodism was the most "white picket fence," stereotypical US religious denomination.  Baptists are too unique within Protestantism and/or especially connected with one region, Episcopalians are too tied with WASP stereotypes, Lutherans are far too connected to Germanic heritage, etc.

As Ulysses S. Grant said there were "three political parties in the United States: the Republicans, the Democrats and the Methodists."  He might have been biased as one himself, of course!

Historically, Methodism was tied up in all sorts of social movements that would be described as "conservative" today.  The Methodist church, both in the North and the South, was highly organized in support of the late 19th-century temperance movement, for example.  It was during this same time that Toronto was known as "Methodist Rome" for its devout and prudish culture.  

The quote from Grant suggests that Methodism was something outside the mainstream.  They enjoyed a reputation much like the Baptists have today!  
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wnwnwn
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« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2024, 11:54:12 AM »
« Edited: February 24, 2024, 03:55:41 PM by wnwnwn »

1926 New York Area counties % catholic population (Al SmIth 1928 vote share)
Manhattan 26,87% (60,82%)
Bronx 25,78% (67,67%)
Brooklyn 34,04% (59,48%)
Queens 42,84% (53,43%)
Staten Island 37,31% (53,37%)
Westchester 39,78% (41,39%)
Nassau, 37,04% (35,42%)
Suffolk, 25,30% (30,79%)
Hudson, NJ 44,81% (60,22%)
Berger, NJ 34,36% (35,96%)
Passaic, NY 37,53% (44,57%)
Essex, NY 32,51% (40,99%)
Union, NY 37,98% (35,32%)
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2024, 01:33:31 PM »

Interesting that Manhattan wasnít really much more Catholic than the US is today even while neighboring Burroughs like Queens were approaching half!!  I know things were much more segregated, but itís still a fascinating dynamic.
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wnwnwn
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« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2024, 03:06:25 PM »

Interesting that Manhattan wasnít really much more Catholic than the US is today even while neighboring Burroughs like Queens were approaching half!!  I know things were much more segregated, but itís still a fascinating dynamic.
Manhattan, Bronx and Brooklyn had a lot of 'russian inmigrants' back then. I suppose most of them were jewish.
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King of Kensington
Junior Chimp
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« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2024, 04:25:29 PM »

Yeah Queens was significantly less Jewish then.  Western Queens - which developed earlier - was never very Jewish.  Central and eastern Queens continued to grow significantly after WWII. Queens became a major Jewish area in the 1940s and 1950s, moving into Forest Hills and northeast Queens.
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King of Kensington
Junior Chimp
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« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2024, 02:18:52 PM »

In the mid-20th century, there were three times as many Methodists as Baptists in the four Midwestern states I looked at. 
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