A Comparison of Selected Summary Statistics
from Wave 1 and Wave 2 NCS findings

The tables below provide descriptive statistics for many of the items shared by both waves of the National Congregations Study. In this table, a single asterisk (*) indicates a difference between 1998 and 2006-07 that achieves at least a .01 level of statistical significance. Two asterisks (**) indicate a difference that is significant at the .005 level. When we report medians, the asterisks refer to the results of the statistical difference between means. In a few instances, a mean difference between 1998 and 2006-07 is statistically significant even when the median is unchanged. In these instances, we omit the asterisks.

We urge caution in interpreting every significant difference between Wave I and Wave II as evidence of real change between 1998 and 2006-2007. There are, after all, just two data points for each item, the NCS sample size is large enough to make even substantively small differences reach statistical significance by conventional standards, multiple t-statistics have been calculated, and weights applied to the data make conventionally calculated standard errors too small. For all of these reasons, a conservative approach to interpreting differences as evidence of real change is warranted.

The numbers reported in the tables below are raw numbers that do not adjust for any of the differences in methodology between Wave I and Wave II such as more summer interviews, more in-person interviews, or congregations that were nominated by Spanish-speaking GSS respondents or whose interviews were conducted in Spanish.

AGE AND SIZE ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Median founding date 1924 1940** 1938 1944**
Number of people associated in any way with the congregations' religious life
   Mean 2558 2399 414 395
   Median 750 700 150 150
Number of people regularly participating in the congregation's religious life
   Mean 1183 1167 185 184
   Median 400 400 80 75
Number of adults regularly participating in the congregation's religious life        
   Mean 779 794 120 124
   Median 275 280 50 50
 
RELIGIOUS TRADITIONc ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Roman Catholic 28.7 28.0 6.3 5.3
White conservative/evangelical 33.4 37.6 46.7 48.9
White liberal/mainline 23.7 19.7 25.0 18.9**
African-American Protestant 10.8 11.4 16.4 23.5**
Non-Christian 3.4 3.3 5.1 3.4
Percent with no denominational affiliation 10.4 14.0* 19.0 21.1
 
BUILDING AND FINANCE ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Percent owning their own building 94.9 94.9 87.7 89.7
Percent meeting in a:        
Church, temple, or mosque 92.9 97.3** 87.3 92.7**
School 3.3 0.7** 5.0 1.0**
Other kind of building 3.8 1.9* 7.7 6.3
Percent with a formal written budget 87.7 88.8 72.8 75.3
Median income in past year $259,500 $300,000** $60,000 $90,000
Median income from individuals in past year $230,000 $270,525** $55,000 $75,000*
Median budget for past year $250,000 $280,000** $60,000 $86,246
Percent receiving income in the past year from sale or rent of building or property 37.9 30.6** 23.9 21.3
Percent giving money to denomination in the past year 82.8 80.2 73.6 74.2
Median amount given to denominations in past yeard $20,783 $20,000 $5,000 $5,000
Percent with an endowment, savings account, or reserve fund 73.9 73.3 59.8 57.3
Median amount in endowment, savings, or reservee $70,000 $90,000 $19,679 $30,000
Percent using any type of service offered by a denomination, other religious organization, or an outside consultant 44.1 45.3 31.2 32.8
 
LEADERSHIP ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Percent with a head clergyperson or leader 95.5 97.0 92.3 95.0*
Percent where head clergyperson or leader is female 5.6 4.7 10.7 7.9
Percent with head clergyperson or leader of each race or ethnicity:        
White 82.2 77.6* 76.0 68.1**
Black 12.2 13.3 19.0 25.5*
Hispanic 2.1 3.2 2.0 1.9
Asian/Pacific Islander 1.3 2.5 1.7 1.7
Other 2.5 3.9 1.6 3.2*
Median year senior clergy person took this position 1992 2000** 1994 2001**
Median age of senior clergy person 51 54** 48 53**
 
STAFF ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Percent with no paid stafff 6.9 5.1 22.5 13.4**
Percent with no full-time stafff 14.6 11.5 39.3 34.6*
Percent with 1 full-time staff person 20.4 22.6 34.5 36.0
Percent with 2 or more full-time staff people 64.9 65.9 26.3 29.4*
Percent with no part-time staff 17.0 16.7 41.6 34.6**
Percent with 1 part-time staff person 10.0 9.7 17.3 18.4
Percent with 2 or more part-time staff people 73.1 73.6 41.1 47.0**
 
WORSHIP ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Percent with 1 service in typical week 14.3 14.5 26.6 28.5
Percent with 2 or more services in typical week 85.6 85.3 72.8 71.4
Median length of most recent main service (minutes) 70 70 75 75
Median length of most recent sermon (minutes) 20 20 25 30*
Median number of minutes of music at most recent main service 20 20 20 20
Median number of socializing minutes before/after typical service 30 30 30 30
Median attendance at most recent main service 230 200 70 65
Percent of most recent main services with each characteristic:        
Sermon or speech 97.1 98.0 95.3 95.4
Singing by congregation 98.1 97.1 96.8 97.2
Singing by choir 72.3 58.0** 53.9 44.1**
Time to greet one another 84.6 86.7 78.4 80.7
Silent prayer/meditation 80.6 82.3 73.3 73.8
People saying "amen" 52.8 60.4** 60.7 70.7**
Applause 58.7 59.1 54.6 61.3**
Written order of service 84.2 75.4** 72.0 67.8
Visual projection equipment 14.9 32.3** 11.9 26.5**
People read or recite something together 75.1 71.2 63.7 59.4
Jump, shout, or dance spontaneously 13.1 17.2* 19.2 25.8**
Raise hands in praise 48.1 55.2** 44.5 56.7**
Use drums 25.1 37.4** 19.6 33.5**
Percent with the following in any worship in past year:        
Speak in tongues 19.5 20.7 23.9 27.0
People told of opportunities for political activity 36.8 29.5** 26.2 21.4**
Time for people other than leaders to testify 72.1 78.7** 77.6 85.0**
Percent with joint worship service in last year 66.3 56.3** 66.3 69.4
Percent with joint worship in last year with congregation with different racial/ethnic make-up 30.8 25.8* 28.3 28.8
 
DOCTRINE ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Percent considering Bible to be literal and inerrant 62.9 70.6** 75.9 82.6**
Percent saying their congregation would be considered politically:        
More on the conservative side 55.2 54.1 62.0 58.1
Right in the middle 37.0 38.7 30.7 34.6
More on the liberal side 7.8 7.2 7.3 7.4
Percent saying their congregation would be considered theologically:        
More on the conservative side 52.7 57.8* 59.8 62.7
Right in the middle 37.6 33.4 29.9 29.5
More on the liberal side 9.8 8.8 10.3 7.7*
 
GROUPS AND SPEAKERS ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Percent with religious education classesg 96.9 97.0 91.2 89.3
Percent with a group in the past year focused on the following:        
Politics 12.5 15.4 6.4 6.2
Book discussion 42.1 62.0** 29.0 45.1**
Parenting 61.8 62.9 39.0 39.4
Voter registration 12.3 27.3** 8.3 17.8**
English as a second language 9.0 14.2** 3.6 5.8*
Practice gifts of spirit 19.7 15.6* 13.4 11.1
Prospective/new member class 79.7 76.6 56.2 60.2*
Class to train new teachers 67.6 65.1 38.0 39.5
Discuss/learn about another religion 29.7 37.4** 20.3 25.2
Lobbying 12.0 14.5 4.4 7.9**
Demonstrating/attending rallies or marches 21.5 20.2 9.2 8.3
Assess community needs 48.2 57.1** 36.8 48.4**
Percent distributing voter guidesh 26.4 25.6 17.0 17.2
Percent with an elementary or high school 23.5 20.9 6.2 4.6
Percent having any visiting speakers in the past year 89.7 86.2* 83.1 81.4
Speaker was:        
Elected government official 12.3 12.3 6.6 8.2
Denominational representative 61.9 64.3 51.9 55.8
Representatives of social service organization 39.4 46.5** 22.2 30.6**
Someone running for office 6.4 6.5 4.6 5.5
 
SOCIAL SERVICES ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Percent with social service, community development, or neighborhood organizing programs of any sorti 75.3 62.1** 58.4 45.4**
Median amount spent on social service programs in the past yearj $5,000 $6,004 $1,229 $2,000
Percent with anyone on paid staff spending more than 25% of their time on congregation's social service projectsj 17.5 23.3** 11.9 15.0
Percent with anyone from the congregation doing volunteer work for congregation's social service projectsj 93.7 95.3 89.7 92.8
Median number of congregational volunteers working on congregation's social service projectsj 25 40 10 15
Percent of those who collaborate with government on social service projectsj 23.0 13.9** 24.1 14.1
Percent with outside funding support for social service programsj 17.7 18.3 18.4 17.7
Percent with outside funding support from local, state, or federal governmentj 4.9 7.4 5.2 7.9
Percent with a policy against receiving government support 14.5 17.3 16.8 16.0
Percent who would apply for government money to support human services programs 48.0 48.9 39.3 47.2**
 
CONFLICT ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Percent experiencing a conflict within the last two years for which a special meeting was called 26.6 21.3** 28.7 23.6*
Percent experiencing a conflict within the last two years that led some people to leave the congregation 26.4 24.7 27.0 26.4
 
TECHNOLOGY ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Percent using email to communicate with members 31.0 79.0** 21.2 59.1**
Percent with a website 28.7 74.2** 17.1 44.3**
 
SOCIAL COMPOSITION ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Median percent of regular participants living within a ten minute drive 60 70** 60 70**
Median percent of regular participants with household income under $25,000/year 20 10** 30 20**
Median percent of regular participants with household income higher than $100,000/year 5 10** 0 2**
Median percent of regular participants with a college degree 30 40* 15 20*
Median percent of regular participants greater than 60 years old 25 30** 25 30**
Median percent of regular participants less than 35 years old 25 25 25 20**
Median percent of regular participants who are female 60 60 60 60
Median percent of regular participants living in households with two parents and at least one child 50 50 40 30**
Percent of congregations at least 80% white and non-Hispanic 71.6 65.6** 71.3 62.6**
Percent of congregations at least 80% black 12.4 12.0 17.4 23.8**
Percent of congregations more than 0% Hispanic 57.0 64.0** 33.3 35.7
Percent of congregations more than 0% Asian or Pacific Islander 41.0 49.7** 18.2 22.6*
Percent of congregations with more than 0% immigrated to the U.S. in past five years 39.4 50.6** 17.9 20.4
 
NEIGHBORHOOD CHARACTERISTICS ATTENDERS' PERSPECTIVEa CONGREGATIONS' PERSPECTIVEb
  1998 2006-07 1998 2006-07
Percent in census tracts with 50% or more adults with some college education 35.3 49.2** 19.7 32.0**
Percent in census tracts with at least 30% of individuals below the poverty line 10.1 10.4 11.8 14.1
Percent in census tracts with at least 5% of individuals immigrating since 1980 15.2 33.9** 13.2 23.5**
Percent in census tracts with at least 5% Hispanics 29.2 39.6** 25.4 28.2
Percent in census tracts with at least 80% African-Americans 5.0 4.0 3.7 5.2
Percent in census tracts with at least 5% unemployment 27.0 24.2 31.1 30.5
Percent in predominantly urban census tracts 60.9 66.8* 41.8 44.1
Percent in predominantly rural census tracts 23.3 17.8* 43.4 32.6**


a
Means and medians in the "attenders" column refer to the congregation attended by the average attender of religious services. Percentages give the percentage of religious service attenders in congregations with the stated characteristic. The data here are weighted by W3.

bMeans and medians in the "congregations" column refer to the average congregation. Percentages give the percentage of congregations with the stated characteristic. The data here are weighted by W2.

cThe "African-American Protestant" category includes all predominantly African American Protestant churches, whatever their denominational affiliation. Predominantly white Protestant congregations that are unaffiliated with any denomination are included in the conservative/evangelical category unless we have good reason to include them elsewhere.

dCalculated only for the subset of congregations who gave any money to their denominations.

eCalculated only for the subset of congregations with an endowment, savings, or reserve account.

fAlthough respondents were asked in both waves how many people work in the congregation as paid staff, in 2006-07 the question was prefaced with "including you" (if the respondent was an employee), and interviewers were trained in 2006-07 to probe to make sure that informants included themselves. We believe this difference is behind the decrease in the percent of congregations with no paid or full-time staff.

gThe 1998 questionnaire included a single item asking about religious education classes for children, teens, and adults. The 2006-07 questionnaire included five questions asking about classes for different age groups. The 2006-07 numbers reported here are from an aggregation of the 2006-07 responses that is comparable to the 1998 single item.

hIn 1998 respondents were asked if their congregation had ever distributed voter guides; in 2006-07, respondents were asked if their congregation had distributed voter guides within the past two years.

iThe 2007-07 social service results reported in this table are calculated to be comparable to the 1998 results. The overall percent of congregations reporting social service activity is considerably higher when we include responses to the additional probes implemented in the NCS-II. After all probes, 82 percent of congregations, containing 90 percent of attenders, are in congregations doing social services.

jThese numbers are calculated only for the subset of congregations who participated in or sponsored social service activities, and the 2006-07 results are calculated to be comparable to the 1998 results.
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