Posts tagged Statistics
Editor’s note: We’ve received the following announcement from Alexei Krindatch, the Orthodox researcher and sociologist. Very soon, the first-ever Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Churches, edited by Krindatch, will be published by Holy Cross Orthodox Press. I have made several contributions to the Atlas, including the historical census data, a timeline of American Orthodox history, an chapter on ten little-known firsts in American Orthodox history, and an article on the Antiochian Archdiocese. SOCHA advisory board member Fr. John Erickson also contributed a brief history of Orthodoxy in America. For more, see Krindatch’s announcement below:
The Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Churches is to be published by the end of May by the Holy Cross Orthodox Press.
Order your copy at www.holycrossbookstore.com, toll-free 800-245-0599.
What is this Book about?
The Atlas provides an accurate “snapshot” of the various Orthodox Christian Churches in the United States. It is addressed for the wide – Orthodox and non-Orthodox, academic and non-academic – audience of readers. Simultaneously, this book is intended to be an atlas, a reference book and a thematic monograph. It is an atlas because it contains numerous maps to show the historical development and present territorial patterns of Orthodox Church life in America. It is a reference book because it furnishes comprehensive information on the American Orthodox Churches including up-to-date statistical data on their membership and geographic distribution. It is a thematic monograph because the essays in this book tell the story of the Orthodox Christian past and present in the United States.
Thematically, the Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Churches unfolds in four parts (for details, see also table of contents below). Chapter one looks at a timeline of Orthodox Christianity in America. It provides a general overview of the historical development of the American Orthodox Churches and presents many interesting facts about particular churches, local communities, and personalities associated with Orthodoxy in America. Chapter two offers an overview of twenty-one national Orthodox Church bodies (including Oriental Orthodox Churches). There are short articles with basic historic and other information about each Church. For each Church, we also provide two maps: a state-by-state map of parishes and a county-by-county map of membership. The third chapter is devoted to Orthodox monasteries in the United States. Today, there are more than eighty Orthodox monastic communities in America that are very different in terms of their size, geographic settings, patterns of everyday life, openness for outside visitors, etc. The chapter gives a general introduction into Orthodox monasticism in America and offers a systematic database for the eighty-one Orthodox monasteries in this country. The accompanying map shows their distribution across the country. Chapter four furnishes data from the 2010 US National Orthodox Census. Tables and maps in this chapter contain statistics of parishes, membership, and church attendance for twenty-one different national Orthodox Church bodies. This information is available church-by-church and state-by-state and county-by-county
An internally diverse and complex family of Churches is covered in this book. Their individual histories on American soil, their current “niche” in the context of the wider American society and their mutual relations are subjects which are at times very sensitive. Compiling this Atlas, I have done my best to be objective and accurate in presenting data and information about each Church. Our hope is that this work will help readers to better recognize the distinct Orthodox “colors” and “flavors” within the diverse and colorful American religious landscape. Any constructive comments that readers may wish to make, as well as updates, on any subject included in this book are welcomed.
Alexei D. Krindatch
Principal Researcher, Data Compiler and Editor (email@example.com)
What Are People Saying about this Book?
“Assembling a mass of recently generated data, The Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Churches provides an authoritative overview of a most important but often neglected segment of the American Christian community. Protestant and Catholic Christians especially will value editor Alexei Krindatch’s survey of both Eastern Orthodoxy as a whole and its multiple denominational expressions.”
J. Gordon Melton
Distinguished Professor of American Religious History
Baylor University, Waco, Texas
“Why are pictures worth a thousand words? Because they engage multiple senses and ways of knowing that stretch and deepen our understanding. Good pictures also tell compelling stories. Good maps are good pictures, and this makes the Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Churches, with its alternation and synthesis of picture and story, a persuasive way of presenting a rich historical journey of Orthodox Christianity on American soil. The telling is persuasive for both scholars and adherents. It is also provocative and suggestive for the American public as we continue to struggle with two issues, in particular, that have been at the center of the Orthodox experience in the United States: how to create and maintain unity cross vast terrains of cultural and ethnic difference; and how to negotiate American culture as a religious other without losing one’s soul.
David Roozen, Director
Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Hartford Seminary
Atlas of American Orthodox Christian Churches: Table of Contents
Preface: Goal and Scope of this Atlas
Acknowledgements and Contributing Authors
Data Presentation: Inclusiveness of the Atlas, Methodology, Terminology and Problems
Chapter 1. Orthodox Christianity in the United States: Past and Present
Timeline of Orthodox Christianity in America
Orthodox Christianity in America: One Faith but Many Stories
Ten Interesting Facts about the History of Orthodox Christianity in the USA
- Membership of Orthodox Christian Churches by State: 1906, 1936, 2010
- Parishes of Orthodox Christian Churches by State: 1911, 1936, 2010
- Membership of Orthodox Christian Churches by County: 2010
- Members of Orthodox Churches as a Percentage of Total Population by County: 2010
Chapter 2. Orthodox Christian Churches in the United States: General Information, Essays and Maps.
The Eastern (Byzantine) Orthodox Churches:
- Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America
- American Carpatho Russian Orthodox Diocese
- Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
- Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia
- Georgian Orthodox Parishes in the USA
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
- Holy Orthodox Church in North America
- Macedonian Orthodox Church: American-Canadian Diocese
- Orthodox Church in America
- Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church
- Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in Americas
- Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
- Serbian Orthodox Church in North America
- Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
- Vicariate for the Palestinian / Jordanian Orthodox Christian Communities
The Oriental Orthodox Christian Churches:
- Armenian Apostolic Church of America: Catholicosate of Cilicia
- Armenian Church of America: Catholicosate of Etchmiadzin
- Coptic Orthodox Church in the United States
- Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Syrian Church
- Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America
- Syrian (Syriac) Orthodox Church of Antioch
Chapter 3. Orthodox Monastic Communities in the United States
Orthodox Monastic Communities in the United States: Introduction
Map: Orthodox Monastic Communities in the United States
Orthodox Monastic Communities by State
Directory of Orthodox Monastic Communities by State
Chapter 4. The 2010 US National Orthodox Census
Orthodox Christian Churches in the United States: 2010
Orthodox Christian Churches by State: 2010
Orthodox Christian Churches by County: 2010
Appendix. Further Sources of Information on Orthodox Christianity in the United States
Before I get started, I wanted to let you all know that I do plan to finish my series on St. Raphael and the Syrian controversies of 1905. However, I’ve got several other irons in the fire, so I’m going to take a little time off of that project to present some other research. But don’t worry; we’ll get back to it.
Anyway, recently, I took another look at the 1916 Census of Religious Bodies, conducted by the US Census Bureau. The census includes data on numerous aspects of American Orthodox church life in the mid-teens, including clergy salaries. Of the seven Orthodox groups reported in the census, six — all but the Syrians — provided data on clergy pay. Of those six bodies, three — the Albanians, Bulgarians, and Romanians — provided salary information on just two priests apiece:
- Albanian priests averaged $780/year, or $15,187 in 2009 currency.
- Bulgarian priests averaged $850/$16,549.
- Romanian priests averaged $570/$11,098.
Obviously, the sample sizes are small, but it’s clear that none of these priests were making much money. Here is the data for the larger groups:
- 93 Greek priests reported an average of $913/year, or $17,776 in 2009 currency.
- 149 Russian priests reported $762/$14,836.
- 11 Serbian priests reported $1050/$20,443.
The average salary for all American Orthodox priests in 1916 was $828, equivalent to just $16,117 in modern terms. (Inflation data courtesy of www.westegg.com/inflation.) I should emphasize that these numbers are based only on the clergy who reported their salaries to the Census Bureau; other priests did not report, including, as I said, all of the Syrian clergy.
Obviously, the 1916 salaries are startlingly low. Even the Serbs — the highest-paid group — were scraping by by modern standards. However, things were quite a bit different in 1916 than they are today. Many parishes had rectories or parsonages, so a lot of these priests didn’t have to pay for their housing. Some of our biggest expenses — health care, transportation, various forms of insurance — would have been minimal 94 years ago. And while I don’t have any hard data to support this, it’s my impression that a higher proportion of clergy were unmarried in 1916 than in 2010.
In addition to all those facts, there is a high probability that the reported salaries don’t include honoraria for weddings, baptisms, funerals, house blessings, and the like. In other words, simply taking the 1916 base salaries, plugging them into a calculator, and figuring out their modern equivalent, is not really an accurate way to determine how well American Orthodox clergy were actually compensated in 1916.
Beyond the seemingly low numbers overall, I was struck by the fact that the Russian clergy reported significantly lower salaries than their Greek and Serbian counterparts. The Russian Church in America was substantially subsidized by the Russian government in 1916, whereas the Greek and Serbian parishes primarily relied on local funding. Nevertheless, the Russian clergy were among the lowest-paid in America.
[This article was written by Matthew Namee.]
On November 4, 1905, a religious and literary journal entitled The Friend published a letter by St. Alexander Hotovitzky, dean of St. Nicholas Cathedral in New York. Hotovitzky wrote in response to an article in The Friend which claimed, “In this Russian service, of course, no one understood what was said, not even the Russians themselves, as the whole of it was in the ancient ecclesiastical Slavonic tongue. As the Romish Church addresses the Lord in Latin, so do the Greeks use this Slavonic language.” Here is Hotovitzky’s reply:
This is not true.
1. Our ecclesiastical Slavonic tongue is the original of modern Russian, Servian, Slavonian, and of other branches of the Slavic world.
2. Every Russian, even children (of school age) understands well the real text and meaning of all prayers in Slavonic, excluding, perhaps, not many expressions which are lost for living use and are not fitting for ordinary practice.
3. Easy to be understood, this Slavonic language has, besides, immense dignity of words, and is sanctified as proper church language by long ecclesiastical usage.
4. To compare the use of the Latin tongue in the Roman Church and of Slavonic in the Russian is, then, far from consistency and knowledge of true conditions of things, because the chief rule of the Eastern Church (which combines Russia, Greece, Jerusalem, Antiochia, etc.) is to say the divine services in the language of the people for whom the services are intended; in Japan we celebrate and preach in Japanese, in China in Chinese, in Alaska in the native tongue of the Aleutians, and in some churches of America in English, always according to the needs and understanding of the congregation.
5. Russians do not understand Greek, and Greeks do not understand the Russian; so in a Greek church you never hear one word of the Slavonic tongue, and vice versa; yet both are of the same Eastern Catholic confession.
A. Hotovitzky, Dean of the Russian St. Nicholas Cathedral.
New York, Ninth Month 24, 1905.
I’m particularly interested in St. Alexander’s point about the use of English in some American Orthodox parishes. This was 1905; the very next year, Isabel Hapgood published her landmark English translation of the Service Book, facilitating the wider use of English. But Slavonic would remain the dominant language of the Russian Archdiocese for years to come. The 1916 Census of Religious Bodies reports that 166 of the 169 Russian Orthodox congregations in America worshipped exclusively in Slavonic.
In fact, among American Orthodox groups, only St. Raphael’s Syrians (Antiochians) really embraced English in the early years of the 20th century. Although they liturgized exclusively in Arabic in 1906, by 1916, over half of the Syrian parishes had completely switched to English, and numerous others had incorporated English to one degree or another. In fact, in 1916, no more than four of the 25 Syrian congregations continued to worship in Arabic alone. It was a remarkable, dramatic shift that probably had several contributing causes, including the vision of St. Raphael, the influence of Fr. Ingram Nathaniel Irvine, and the translation work of Isabel Hapgood. For more, check out my article from August 21 of last year.
[This article was written by Matthew Namee.]
Last week, Alexei Krindatch released his landmark 2010 census of Orthodox churches in the United States. (Also last week, Krindatch was interviewed by Kevin Allen on Ancient Faith Radio. Click here to listen.) Sifting through the census data, I naturally got to thinking about historical censuses. Every ten years, from 1906 to 1936, the US Census Bureau conducted a thorough census of all religious bodies in the country. And they did a good job of it: like Krindatch so many generations later, the Census Bureau gathered lists of individual congregations and then contacted each local congregation directly. They didn’t just ask the various denominations, “How many members do you have?” By working with each parish, they were able to obtain very reliable results. (For details on how these censuses were conducted, see the journals of the American Statistical Association from December 1920 and September 1927.)
In addition to the 1906-1936 censuses, a less rigorous study was conducted by the Christian Herald in 1947. It’s in this latter census that we begin to see the inflated numbers that would become the hallmark of Orthodox population data until Krindatch did his work over the last decade.
Today, I’m going to focus solely on raw population data from the historical censuses. For starters, here is what American Orthodoxy looked like in the 1906 census. Keep in mind that these numbers don’t include Alaska:
- 90,751 Greeks
- 19,111 Russians
- 15,742 Serbs
- 4,002 Antiochians
That’s a total of 129,606 Orthodox in the United States of America. A decade later, the Orthodox population had nearly doubled, to 249,840. Much of this growth was from the Russians, who grew by more than 80,000 members. I assume that most of these new members were former Uniates.
- 119,871 Greeks
- 99,681 Russians
- 14,301 Serbs
- 11,591 Antiochians
- 1,994 Romanians
- 1,992 Bulgarians
- 410 Albanians
You know, I’ve always had it in my mind that the big growth of the Russian Church in the continguous United States came during the era of St. Tikhon (1898-1907) and St. Alexis Toth (1891-1909). But this data shows that the really big increase didn’t happen until 1906-1916. I find this fact especially ironic in that this period coincides almost precisely with the episcopate of Archbishop Platon, who ruled (and I mean ruled, with an iron fist) from 1907 to 1914. Abp Platon did encourage Uniate conversions to Orthodoxy, but he also wanted the ex-Uniates to become “real Russians” — to give up their distinctive ethnic languages and traditions and fully embrace Russian-ness, in all of its meanings. It’s all rather contrary to the traditional Orthodox missionary outlook espoused by people like St. Innocent; nevertheless, Abp Platon oversaw a period of massive growth in the Russian Archdiocese.
Moving ahead another ten years, to 1926, we find that the population has leveled off. At 259,394, American Orthodoxy had grown by less than four percent in the preceding decade. However, I strongly suspect that the actual numbers were higher than this. Remember that 1926 was right in the middle of a period of schism, with competing jurisdictions for almost every Orthodox ethnic group. Do the 1926 census numbers include, for instance, both the Russy and Antacky factions of Antiochians? The same sort of question could be asked of the Russians, Greeks, and others. It’s just a hunch, but I’d wager that a sizeable number of Orthodox Americans fell through the cracks in this census. Anyway, here’s the breakdown for 1926:
- 119,495 Greeks
- 95,134 Russians
- 18,853 Romanians
- 13,775 Serbs
- 9,207 Antiochians
- 1,993 Albanians
- 937 Bulgarians
It’s especially striking to see the Romanians jump to the #3 spot on the list. Realistically, I think the Antiochians may well have been as populous as the Romanians, but by 1926 there were three strong claimants to leadership of the group — Archbishop Aftimios Ofiesh (Russy), Metropolitan Germanos Shehadi (the original Antacky), and newcomer Archbishop Victor Abo-Assaley (leader of the newly-founded Antiochian Archdiocese). As I said above, it’s likely that the Census Bureau didn’t get data from all three factions, the result being an apparent decline in the Antiochian population.
Anyway, growth had resumed by 1936. The Orthodox population (counting mainstream jurisdictions only — that is, excluding the Ofiesh spinoff groups and such) was 348,025 — a 34% increase over the 1926 figure. Most of that growth was fueled by the Greeks, whose numbers rose by 58%:
- 189,368 Greeks
- 89,510 Russians
- 20,020 Serbs
- 18,451 Antiochians
- 15,090 Romanians
- 11,480 Ukrainians
- 3,137 Albanians
- 969 Bulgarians
This was the second decade in a row that the Russian Orthodox population had declined. Keep in mind, though, that the Russian data has much the same problem that the 1926 Antiochian data had — the Russians were split into three groups (Metropolia, ROCOR, and Moscow Patriarchate), and I think that only the Metropolia was counted in the census.
The 1936 census was the last one conducted by the Census Bureau, but as I said earlier, the Christian Herald did its own census in 1947. The numbers aren’t quite as reliable. I don’t know what their methodology was, but… well, take a look at their data, and then I’ll offer some thoughts:
- 300,000 Russians
- 275,000 Greeks
- 42,000 Serbs
- 39,500 Ukrainians
- 21,000 Romanians
- 20,300 Antiochians
- 3,137 Albanians
- 1,336 Bulgarians
It seems that the Christian Herald‘s numbers came directly from the jurisdictions themselves, rather than from the individual congregations. And look at the growth: the Christian Herald reported 702,273 Orthodox in 1947, almost exactly double the population in the 1936 census. Are we really to believe that America’s Orthodox population experienced 100% growth from 1936-1947? Looking at the jurisdictions, some of the numbers are more believable than others. The Antiochian, Romanian, and Bulgarian figures are reasonably in line with their 1936 populations. And notice that the 3,137 number for the Albianians is exactly the same as it was in 1936 (meaning, obviously, that it was taken directly from the ’36 census, without additional research).
Could the Greeks have grown from 189,368 to 275,000 in just 11 years? Absolutely. That would be a 45% increase for the Greeks, after a 58% jump from 1926-1936. It might be a bit of a stretch, but it’s well within the realm of possibility. Even being conservative, the Greek Archdiocese must have had well over 200,000 members in 1947. But I simply don’t buy that there were 300,000 Russian Orthodox in 1947, when there were fewer than 90,000 in 1936. Here, I think we see the beginnings of a process that culminated with the OCA officially reporting a nice, round, 1,000,000 members until recently. Reducing the Russian data to a more reasonable level — say, 150,000 rather than 300,000 — we’re left with somewhere around 550,000 Orthodox in America in 1947. If we accept that as roughly accurate, here are the approximate increases in population from 1906-1947:
- 1906-16: 93%
- 1916-26: 4%
- 1926-36: 34%
- 1936-47: ~58% ?
According to Krindatch’s 2010 census, there are 799,400 members of the mainstream Chalcedonian jurisdictions. If we take the 1947 data at face value — that is, if we accept that there were 702,273 Orthodox Americans in 1947 — then the US Orthodox population has grown by just 14 percent in the past 63 years. Even if we halve the 1947 Russian figure, the growth since 1947 has been 45%, which is pretty modest considering over six decades have passed. While the 1947 data isn’t precise, I think it’s safe to say that we grew more in the 11 years from 1936-1947 than we have in the 63 years since.
Finally, note the exponential growth of the Serbs and Ukrainians from ’36 to ’47 — 110% and 244% (!), respectively. The Ukrainian figure, while very high, is definitely plausible, as the Ukrainians were a fledgling jurisdiction in 1936 and grew through the conversion of Uniates in the years that followed. I don’t know enough about the Serbs to say whether their number is accurate, but I know that many Serbs came to America during World War II (including St. Nicholai Velimirovich in 1946). I’m inclined to believe that there were roughly 42,000 Serbian Orthodox by 1947.
As far as I can tell, this 1947 Christian Herald census, while obviously flawed, was the last reasonably accurate census of American Orthodoxy to be conducted in the 20th century. From 1947 until Alexei Krindatch began his work in the early 21st century, American Orthodox jurisdictions (and, in some cases, politicians) began to come up with their own statistics, and the results were way out of line with reality. Yes, there might be four or even eight million US citizens who are descended from an Orthodox Christian. And there may well be several million Americans who were baptized into the Orthodox Church as infants. But it’s incredible — literally, not credible — to count them all as Orthodox parishioners. Future historians will be indebted to Alexei Krindatch for his meticulous work, just as we, today, can be grateful for the accurate censuses conducted in the first half of the 20th century.
UPDATE (10/11/10): I happened to have lunch with Alexei Krindatch just yesterday, and he pointed out that a much higher proportion of Americans were religious in the 1906-1947 period than today. To get a real sense of the relative growth of American Orthodoxy from 1947-2010, we need to take into account the overall population of religious Americans. I don’t have the data right now, but suffice it to say that it isn’t quite so simple to compare the raw 1947 population to the raw 2010 population.
[This article was written by Matthew Namee.]
Over the past decade, my friend, the incomparable sociologist Alexei Krindatch, has developed a reputation for his remarkable studies of Orthodox Christianity in America. The full collection of his work is housed at www.orthodoxreality.org. Today, Alexei has released the results of his latest and most ambitious project yet — a census of all Orthodox congregations in the United States. The most notable aspect of this census is the fact that Alexei didn’t just go to the administrations of each jurisdiction and ask for their reported numbers. He contacted every single parish in America, asking two key questions:
- Approximately how many individual persons in total are associated in any way with the life of your parish: counting adults and children, regular and occasional attendees, paid stewards and persons who do not contribute financially?
- Approximately how many persons — including adults and children — attend Liturgy in your parish on a typical Sunday?
Counting all “Orthodox” churches — that is, including the non-Chalcedonians as well as HOCNA (which isn’t in communion with mainstream Orthodoxy) — Alexei found that 1,043,600 people were associated with American Orthodox parishes. Of those, about 280,300 (27%) attend Liturgy on a typical Sunday.
I’m tempted to pick out some of my favorite bits of data from the census, but I really do want you to visit Alexei’s website and read what he’s presented. In the future, I’ll probably unpack the census a bit, comparing it to the old Censuses of Religious Bodies. Once again, here’s a link to the 2010 Census, and here’s a link to Alexei Krindatch’s website.
[This article was written by Matthew Namee.]