International Religious Demography

Todd M. Johnson and Brian J. Grim

in The Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Religion

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780195390049
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 International Religious Demography

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  • Economics
  • Labour and Demographic Economics
  • Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General


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The academic field of religious demography is in the early stages of development. Although there are thousands of sources for international religious demography, ranging from censuses and demographic surveys to statistics collected and reported by religious groups themselves, little has been done by scholars in religion, sociology, or other disciplines to collect, collate, and analyze these data over the past decades. Secondary sources for religious demography, such as Wikipedia or the CIA Factbook, are woefully inadequate and riddled with contradictions and errors. Despite these problems in handling and interpreting religious data, international religious demography is a growing field of study. In the past twenty-five years, an enormous amount of data has been collected and analyzed. New sources of information include government censuses, surveys and polls, records kept by religious communities, scholarly monographs, and Roman Catholic Church and religion yearbooks and handbooks. This article, which looks at sources and methodology related to international religious demography, also discusses the evolution of the World Christian Database and the World Religion Database.

Keywords: religion; sources; religious demography; World Christian Database; World Religion Database; censuses; scholarly monographs

Article.  6575 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Labour and Demographic Economics ; Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General

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