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MEMBERSHIP OF U.S. RELIGIOUS & SPIRITUAL GROUPS

NON-CHRISTIAN FAITH GROUPS

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Data from The World Almanac and Book of Facts

The World Almanac derives its data from religious groups themselves. 1

Denomination

Membership in Thousands

Comments

Atheists 1,700 In N. America
Baha'i Faith 147
Buddhist Churches of America 16
Chinese Folk Religions 857 In N. America
Confucians 0 In N. America
Hindu 1,285
Islam 2,800 Estimates vary greatly
Jains 7 In N. America
Judaism 4,140
New-Religionists 847 Misc. faiths, since 1945
Sikh 535 In N. America
Shinto 57 In N. America
Spiritists 152 In N. America
Taoist 11 In N. America
Unitarian Universalist Association 220 See Note 1
Zoroastrian 79 In N. America

Category

Number in Thousands

Other, unclassified 605
Non-religious 28,994

Note: We have seen wildly different estimates of the total numbers of some faith groups. Some religious groups count actual members. Others may estimate the total number of followers of their faith. Some include even those individuals who have been baptized or initiated, but have never attended a religious service. Thus, data is relatively unreliable.

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Data from the American religious Identification Survey:

These data are derived from a telephone survey of over 50,000 American adults. 2

Denomination

Membership in Thousands

Agnostic 991
Atheist 902
Baha'i Faith 84
Buddhism 1,082
Deity 49
Druid 33
Eckankar 26
Ethical Culture 4
Hindu 766
Humanist 49
Jewish 2,831
Muslim 1,104
Native American Spirituality 103
New Age 68
Pagan 140
Rastafarian 11
Santeria 22
Scientologist 55
Secular 53
Sikh 57
Spiritualist 116
Taoist 40
Unitarian Universalist 629
Wiccan 134

Category

Number in Thousands

Other unclassified 386
No religion 27,486
Refused to answer 11,246

Note: The very large percentage of individuals who refused to reveal their religion detracts from the accuracy of this survey. Some Druids, Pagans, Wiccans, and followers of Vodun are probably reluctant to reveal their religion out of fear of persecution.

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The largest non-Christian groups:

Sorting the ARIS data by the number of adherents, we can estimate the ten largest non-Christian religious classifications in the U.S.:

Category

Number in Thousands

No religion 27,486
Jewish 2,831
Muslim 1,104
Buddhism 1,082
Agnostic 991
Atheists 902
Hindu 766
Unitarian Universalist 629
Neo-pagan (Druid, Wiccan, Pagan) 307
Spiritualist 116

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References:

  1. Ken Park, "The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2003," World Almanac Books, Mahwah NJ. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
  2. American Religious Identification Survey, 2001, at: http://www.gc.cuny.edu/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from: 

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Copyright © 1996, 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last updated: 2006-MAR-03
Author: B.A. Robinson

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