Research Projects & Findings

The primary research project of the Cooperative Congregations Studies Partnership (CCSP) is Faith Communities Today (FACT), a series of national surveys of U.S. congregations. This research is unique in many ways. Not only do the reports show the similarities and differences of congregational life among the faith traditions, but they also provide insightful trend line data reflecting the changing landscape of congregational life in the United States.

In addition, special reports (INSIGHTS INTO:) investigate certain congregational practices and address major challenges facing congregations today with practical resources.

The FACT series was launched in 2000 with the largest national survey of congregations ever conducted in the United States. The study of 14,301 local churches, synagogues, parishes, temples and mosques provided a public profile of the organizational backbone of religion in America – congregations – at the beginning of a new millennium. Two smaller studies followed this in 2005 and 2008.

A replication of the 2000 study, Faith Communities Today 2010 survey is now complete. Findings from the survey will be released throughout 2011 beginning in late April. It is a survey of over 11,000 congregations.

Use the links below or to the left to explore the findings from all the Faith Communities Today studies.

Faith Communities Today 2010

FACT2010 used key informants in each surveyed congregation, typically the senior or sole clergy leader, to complete the survey. This sample was a composite of a random national sample designed to represent the universe of American congregations and random oversample surveys from 20 faith groups. The final dataset contains responses from 11,077 congregations. The sampling error for such types of samples is difficult to calculate with precision. We estimate it to be +/- 4 percent. The questionnaire used to collect the information for the Fact2008 study will soon be available for download in .pdf format.

Faith Communities Today 2008

FACT2008 used key informants in each surveyed congregation, typically the senior or sole clergy leader, to complete the survey. This sample was a composite of three layers of random national samples designed to represent the universe of American congregations. The final dataset contains questionnaires from 2,527 congregations. The sampling error for such types of samples is difficult to calculate with precision. We estimate it to be +/- 4 percent.  The questionnaire used to collect the information for the Fact2008 study is available in .pdf format and also contains the general frequency findings. FACT2008 had responses from 2,527 congregations.

Faith Communities Today 2005

The FACT2005 key informant questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of 3000 congregations. 884 responses were received. Responses were weighted to known population parameters for region and faith family, and for size of congregation and rural/city/ suburban location. Sampling error for such a survey can only be estimated. We estimate it to be +/- 4% at the 95% confidence level.  The questionnaire used to collect the information for the Fact2005 study is available in .pdf format and also contains the general frequency findings. FACT2005 had responses from 884 congregations.

Faith Communities Today 2000

The FACT2000 data include 26 individual surveys of congregations representing 41 denominations and faith groups, representing about 90 percent of worshippers in the US. More than 14,000 congregations participated in the survey. These denominations and faith groups worked together, in multi-faith cooperation, to undertake this survey. Their coming together for this purpose was unprecedented as was the data that was produced.  The questionnaire used to collect the information for the Fact2000 study is available in .pdf format and also contains the general frequency findings.