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Department of Commerce Statistics

U.S. Department of Commerce has recently released statistics on American churches, clergy and church schools. Church Law & Tax Report give some interesting figures:

  • Number of U.S. congregations: 294,271
  • Churches with fewer than 100 members: 60,300
  • Churches with fewer than 500 members: 205,556
  • Churches with 1,000-1,999 members: 21,691
  • Churches with 2,000 or more members: 13,958
  • Last year churches received $49 billion in revenues, of which $40 billion came from contributions, $1.4 billion from wills and estates, and $2.5 billion from fees or charges for services.
  • There are a total of 348,000 clergy employed in the United States, and they have served an average of 15.8 years in each position.

Of special interest are the statistics on who is supporting these churches.

Persons 65-74 years of age donated the largest percentage of their income (3.1 percent) and those 18-24 the least (0.6 percent). Increasingly, those with lower incomes gave a higher proportion of their income to charity than higher income individuals. Persons with household incomes of under $10,000 gave 2.8 percent of their total incomes, while those with incomes over $100,000 gave only 2.1 percent. The average annual contribution to the church was $715 per household.

Pulpit Helps, August, 1992, p. 8