American religion in 1776: A statistical portrait

Rodney Stark, Roger Finke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


While historians of American religion are aware that the original colonies did not exude universal piety, they have provided few statistics on colonial religion. Without these statistics it is difficult to describe colonial religion with precision, much less attempt to describe or explain changes since colonial times. In the following paper we provide a relatively detailed statistical portrait of American religion at the beginning of the Revolution. To construct data on colonial religion we draw from two essential sources. The first is the Carnegie Institution’s project on colonial churches, as conducted by M. W. Jemegan, and the second is Weis’s series of publications on colonial clergy. Not only do these data provide a more accurate account of religion by colony and denomination, they also serve as a benchmark for religious growth. Finally, we offer an initial look at the shifting fortunes of American denominations, 1776-1850.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-51
Number of pages13
JournalSociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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