Interpreting Maps

The following maps illustrate examples of religion characteristics of denominational families. Each includes a brief explanation to help you interpret it.

Map 1: Adherents with very strong support of bible colleges

There is very strong support for Bible Colleges through the northern Midwestern states, which are places where the Lutheran denomination, which historically has heavily invested in education and seminary training, exists in strength as compared to other denominations. The map shows the number of adherents of denominations that very strongly support Bible Colleges as a percentage of the total state population.

Map 2: Congregations with very strong support of bible colleges

When the same typology is applied using the “counts” option, the map displays additional strong support in the northeast and in a limited part of the South. In those places, congregations, and especially Protestant evangelical groups, can be smaller in size but more numerous across the state. The shaded areas are not a measure of the relative strength of those denominations in terms of statewide membership, but rather a “count” of the number of congregations. The map shows the state count of congregations in a denomination with very strong support of Bible Colleges.

Map 3: Adherents with strong central authority

There is strong support for centralized authority in Utah, where Mormons constitute the largest denomination and in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where, similarly, Catholics are in a large majority of the total population. In the South, where Baptists and Methodists predominate, there is less support for strong authority. The map shows the number of state adherents of denominations that have strong central authority as a percentage of the total state population.

Map 4: Congregations with strong central authority

There is strong central authority in congregations, by count, in states where there are large Catholic and Mormon populations. The number (count) of congregations in denominations with a strong degree of central authority is indicated by the shadings.

Map 5: Adherents with moderate/high giving

The percentage of all persons in a state who belong to denominations that support moderate/high giving shows distribution at various levels throughout the fifty states.

Map 6: Adherents with low/moderate giving

Persons who are members of denominations with low giving, as a percentage of all persons in the state, are highest in the northwest.

Map 7: Congregations with low giving

Of all congregations in the state, the percentage of congregations in denominations that support low/moderate giving is highest in the northwestern states.

Map 8: Adherents with strong support of higher education

Shows the number of adherents in denominations with strong support of higher education as a percentage of all persons in the state. The map shows a similar configuration as Map 9, which displays a percentage based on the number of congregations in a state.

Map 9: Congregations with strong support of higher education

The number of congregations in denominations that very strongly support higher education, as a percentage of the total number of congregations in a state, is highest in the Midwest and northeastern states.

Map 10: Congregations with very high publishing investment

The number of congregations in denominations that are characterized by very high support of publishing, as a percentage of the total number of congregations in a state, is highest in an area of the Midwest, as well as in South Dakota and South Carolina. That percentage is still less than 1.5%, though.