Latest ARIS (American Religious Identification Survey) Stats

Click any graphic below to read the USA Today story.

Since 1990:

No religion +6.8%
Don't Know/Refused +2.9%
Protestant denominations +0.5%
Eastern religions +0.5%
New movements (e.g. Wiccan) +0.4%
Pentecostal/Charsmatic +0.3%
Muslim +0.3%
Mormon +0.0%

Memo to the Media: Please feel free to stop referring to the LDS/Mormon church as one of the fastest-growing churches. It's not and hasn't been for so long that y'all should know better by now. But somehow we still get paragraphs like this in the WaPo coverage of this survey:
The survey substantiated several general trends already identified by sociologists: the slipping importance of denomination in America, the growing number of people who say they have "no" religion and the increase in religious minorities including Muslims, Mormons and such movements as Wicca and paganism.
A zero percent rise in Mormons as a percentage of the population qualifies as an "increase?"

In any case, at least the ARIS numbers provide a timely correction of the suspect figures published in the 2009 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches. Per the Yearbook:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 5,873,408 members, up 1.63 percent (Ranked 4).
Not 5,873,408 members. Not up 1.63 percent. Not ranked fourth.

And not surprising that actual survey results diverge so widely from the stats reported by the LDS church.

Also not surprising, in light of the latest ARIS numbers, is the decade-long effort on the part of the LDS leadership to align Mormonism with these folks (when all else fails, hitch your wagon to a star):
The growth comes among those who identify themselves as Christian, "evangelical/born again," or "non-denominational Christian." That last group numbers over eight million, up from less than 200,000 in 1990.
ARIS summary and updates here.

And a worthy Christian Century article from 2007 here.

The Mormon Social Science Association discusses retention rates here.

And last year's discussion over at Main Street Plaza: Mormon Replacement Rate Negative in United States.


Buffy said...

From what I hear it's more difficult to get your name removed from the membership rolls than it is to revoke your citizenship in the US. They'll gladly claim new converts but never people who leave. That's why they claim to be growing so fast when in reality they're barely maintaining their numbers.

Pend said...

It's not so bad, really, but I know where the sentiment comes from. I ejected myself in Nov '08 after being a member since birth. It was painless, but nevertheless took a while (didn't get confirmation until late Dec '08, if I remember). The trick is to follow the directions at . !!! Holy crap, it's gone! :-(

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