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Religions and Denominations in the US

Over 310 Religions and Denominations in the United States

All Religions and Denominations in the USThe phrase “under God” can mean something different to members of the approximately 313 religions and denominations in the United States, from monotheists who believe in one God (in the Judeo-Christian and other traditions), to polytheists who believe in many Gods, to atheists who believe in no God, or a God as represented by animal spirits, alien groups, or psychoactive substances.   

In an attempt to document “all” the religions in the United States, their membership levels, and their unique beliefs, we have created the chart below. It details 28 of the largest religious groups (by members) in America, and it provides expanded sections on 35 Christian religious denominations, 124 “Other” religions and 127 “New Age” religions.

In this chart, religion is defined as “any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life, and a worldview.” Given this definition, we excluded from our results below the individuals classified in 2001 as “Nonreligious/Secular” (27,539,000 adults), “Agnostic” (991,000 adults), and “Atheist” (902,000 adults).

The information in the chart was compiled primarily by using the 2001 “American Religious Identification Survey” conducted by The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. 50,281 households in the continental United States (48 states) were randomly dialed and participants were asked “What is your religion, if any?” We supplemented those findings with data from J. Gordon Melton’s The Encyclopedia of American Religions, 7th Edition, Kosmin & Lachman’s One Nation Under God: Religion in Contemporary American Society, the Religious Movements page of the University of Virginia, the Ontario Consultants on religious tolerance, Wikipedia, and the official websites of several specific religions.


[Note that the US Census does not gather statistics on America’s religious composition and we have not included the 2,500 (approx.) denominations of the religions presented below.]


Total “religious” age 18+ population (2001): 166,887,700 (85%)
Total “Nonreligious/Secular,” “Agnostic,” and “Atheist” age 18+ population (2001): 29,432,000 (15%)
Total age 18+ population (2001): 196,319,700 (100%)

Chart of 313 Religions and Denominations in the United States

(In order of membership size as of 2001)




Name of Religion
(By # of members)
Date Founded Classification
(Name of Deity)
Members 18 and over    

(Estimated % of 2001 population of “religious” age 18+ adults, total 166,887,700)

Definition – from Merriam Webster Online Dictionary (based on the print version of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition) unless otherwise specified
1.-35. Christianity
Click for a detailed listing of 35 Christian religious denominations.     

[Includes approximately 130 million Young Earth Creationists, who believe Earth is about 6,000 years old.]

1st century A.D. Monotheistic-
One God



Christianity – “the religion derived from Jesus Christ , based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies”
36. Judaism 2nd Millenium B.C. Monotheistic-
One God



Judaism – “a religion developed among the ancient Hebrews and characterized by belief in one transcendent God who has revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and the Hebrew prophets and by a religious life in accordance with Scriptures and rabbinic traditions”
37. Islam 7th century Monotheistic-
One God



Islam – “the religious faith of Muslims including belief in Allah as the sole deity and in Muhammad as his prophet”
38. Buddhism 6th century B.C. Undefined      



Buddhism – “a religion of eastern and central Asia growing out of the teaching of Gautama Buddha that suffering is inherent in life and that one can be liberated from it by mental and moral self-purification”
39. Hinduism 2nd millenium B.C. Henotheistic
The worship of one god without denying the existence of other gods



Hinduism – “the dominant religion of India that emphasizes dharma [way of higher truth] with its resulting ritual and social observances and often mystical contemplation and ascetic practices”
40. Unitarian Universalism 16th century Undefined      



Unitarian Universalism- “Tolerance of others and their beliefs as well as an acceptance that Truth changes and has to be sought after are two very important principles that guide the church along with life, liberty, and justice. The highest values…are integrity, caring, compassion, social justice, truth, personal peace, and harmony. One of the founding principles was that humans were not born into sin…Without original sin, there is no need to be saved…There is no condemnation to hell…One should live morally not to save his/herself but to better the world, for his/herself and those after him/her. They believe the final authority is in the hands of the individual. One can seek guidance from texts such as the Bible and spiritual leaders because they are respected but it is in one’s heart and soul that he/she can find the truth. This religion is based on freedom and no one should look down on others.”     

– Religious Movements Page
University of Virginia
“Unitarian Universalist”
Dec. 27, 2005
41.-165. Other unclassified – Click for a detailed listing of 124 groups N/A N/A      



Other unclassified – In addition to the thirty religions identified in this chart, there is a continuous growth in the United States of “other” religions: new religious movements (sometimes referred to as “cults” or “sects”), spinoffs of mainstream religions, and religions that emerge with the development of new technology (internet religions, for example).
166. Neo-Paganism Unknown Polytheistic – Many Gods      



Neo-Paganism – “a heterogeneous group of new religious movements, particularly those influenced by ancient, mainly pre-Christian and sometimes pre-Judaic religions. Often these are Indo-European in origin, but with a growing component inspired by other religions indigenous to Europe, such as Finno-Ugric, as well as those of other parts of the world… Neo-paganist beliefs and practices are extremely diverse. Some Neo-pagans tend towards a syncretic melding of various religious practices, folk customs and ritual techniques. Others observe a specific ancient religion to a degree that can border on historical reenactment. Still other Neo-pagans practice a spirituality that is entirely modern in origin.”     

– Wikipedia,
Dec. 27, 2005
167. Wiccan 16th century Polytheistic – Many Gods      



Wiccan – “a religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of western Europe that affirms the existence of supernatural power (as magic) and of both male and female deities who inhere in nature, and that emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles”
168. Spiritualism 19th century Undefined      



Spiritualism – “The main belief of Spiritualists is that a spirit world coexists overlapping the material world. When a person dies, his or her soul moves to the spirit world and will continue to progress for eternity. Each progression of the soul takes it closer to God. People can develop their souls through developing spiritual qualities in either this world or the next. Spiritualists’ belief in the afterlife differs from other religions such as Christianity in that they believe the spirits of the dead can communicate with the living through mediums and psychics, and that they actively act as guides to help the living develop their souls.”     

– Religious Movements Page
University of Virginia
Dec. 27, 2005
169. Native American Religion Can be traced back 30,000 to 60,000 years Undefined      



Native American Religion – “The religion of Native Americans has developed from the hunting taboos, animal ceremonialism, beliefs in spirits, and shamanism embraced by those early ancestors… Beyond the directly inherited traditional Native American religions, a wide body of modified sects abounds…The religions do share some common tendencies. Religion tends to be closely related to the natural world. The local terrain is elevated with supernatural meaning, and natural objects are imbued with sacred presences. Ceremonial rituals involving these supernatural-natural objects are meant to ensure communal and individual prosperity. These common underlying features unite a diversity of contemporary Native American sects… Ceremony plays a vital, essential role in Native American religions.”     

– Religious Movements Page
University of Virginia
“Native American Spirituality”
Dec. 27, 2005
170. Bahaism 19th century Monotheistic-
One God



Bahaism – “a religious movement originating in Iran in the 19th century and emphasizing the spiritual unity of mankind”
171.-298. New Age – Click for a detailed listing of 127 groups 1960s Undefined      



New Age – “of, relating to, or being a late 20th century social movement drawing on ancient concepts especially from Eastern and American Indian traditions and incorporating such themes as holism, concern for nature, spirituality, and metaphysics”
299. Sikhism 1500 Monotheistic –
One God



Sikhism – “a monotheistic religion of India founded about 1500 by Guru Nanak and marked by rejection of idolatry and caste”
300. Scientology 1953 Undefined-
“Scientology…does not enforce a particular doctrine or belief relating to God or a Supreme Being”     

(Email to
from James Garner of
the Church of
Scientology 12/28/05)




Scientology – “The word Scientology literally means ‘the study of truth.’…Scientology is the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, others and all of life. The Scientology religion comprises a body of knowledge extending from certain fundamental truths. Prime among these: Man is an immortal, spiritual being. His experience extends well beyond a single lifetime. His capabilities are unlimited, even if not presently realized ? and those capabilities can be realized. He is able to not only solve his own problems, accomplish his goals and gain lasting happiness, but also achieve new, higher states of awareness and ability. In Scientology no one is asked to accept anything as belief or on faith. That which is true for you is what you have observed to be true. An individual discovers for himself that Scientology works by personally applying its principles and observing or experiencing results.”     

– Scientology website
Dec. 27, 2005
301. Humanism Unknown Undefined      



Humanism- “a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially : a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual’s dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason”
302. Deism 17th century Monotheistic-
One God



Deism – “a movement or system of thought advocating natural religion, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe”
303. Taoism 6th century B.C. Undefined      



Taoism -“a Chinese mystical philosophy traditionally founded by Lao-tzu in the 6th century B.C. that teaches conformity to the Tao by unassertive action and simplicity…a religion developed from Taoist philosophy and folk and Buddhist religion and concerned with obtaining long life and good fortune often by magical means”
304. Druidism Unknown Polytheistic –
Many Gods



Druidism- “Modern Druidism is one of the Neopagan family of religions, which includes Wicca and recreations of Egyptian, Greek, Norse, Roman and other ancient Pagan religions. Some present-day Druids attempt to reconstruct the beliefs and practices of ancient Druidism. Other modern-day followers of Druidism work directly with the spirits of place, of the gods and of their ancestors to create a new Druidism… Most modern Druids connect the origin of their religion to the ancient Celtic people.”     

– Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
“Celtic Druidism”
Dec. 27, 2005
305. Zoroastrianism 6th century B.C. Monotheistic –
One God
(Ahura Mazda)




Zoroastrianism – “a Persian religion founded in the 6th century B.C. by the prophet Zoroaster, promulgated in the Avesta, and characterized by worship of a supreme god Ahura Mazda who requires good deeds for help in his cosmic struggle against the evil spirit Ahriman”
306. Eckankar 1965 Undefined      



Eckankar – “Eckankar teaches simple spiritual exercises to experience the Light and Sound of God. These exercises also help us Soul Travel, to move into greater states of consciousness. A spiritual exercise can be as simple as relaxing and singing the word HU, an ancient name for God.”     

– Eckankar website
Dec. 27, 2005
307. Cao Daism 1926 Monotheistic-
One God
(Duc Cao Dai)



Cao Daism – “Caodai refers to the supreme palace where God reigns. The word is also used as God’s symbolic name. Caodaism is a syncretistic religion which combines elements from many of the world’s main religions, including Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, as well as Geniism, an indigenous religion of Viet Nam…[Cao Daists] believe in reincarnation… One can break free of the reincarnation cycle by ‘cultivating self and finding God in self’…If they have purified themselves spiritually, and fulfilled all of their duties, they may reincarnate to another, happier life on earth. Or they might attain Heaven or Nirvana.”     

– Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
“Cao Daism”
Jan. 9, 2006
308. Santeria 18th century Polytheistic –
Many Gods



Santeria – “a religion practiced originally in Cuba in which Yoruba deities are identified with Roman Catholic saints”     

309. Rastafarianism 1930s Monotheistic –
One God



Rastafarianism – “a religious cult among black Jamaicans that teaches the eventual redemption of blacks and their return to Africa, employs the ritualistic use of marijuana, forbids the cutting of hair, and venerates Haile Selassie as a god”
310. Shintoism Unknown Polytheistic –
Many Gods



Shintoism – “the indigenous religion of Japan consisting chiefly in the cultic devotion to deities of natural forces and veneration of the Emperor as a descendant of the sun goddess”
311. The Druze 9th Century Monotheistic-
One God



The Druze – “started in the 9th Century CE as a break-away group from Islam… After the death of their leader Baha al-Din in 1031 CE, their religion became exclusive: they do not accept converts; they do not marry outside their faith… The Druse hold the Qur’an to be sacred, but look upon it as an outer shell, holding an ‘inner, esoteric meaning’…They are firmly monotheistic, believing in a single God. He has no partner or son; he is not part of a Trinity…They recognize seven major prophets, including Adam, Abraham, and Jesus. They reject the concept of the virgin birth, and believe that Jesus was the son of Joseph.”     

– Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
“The Druse”
Dec. 27, 2005
312. Ethical Culture 1876 Undefined      



Ethical Culture – “a humanistic religious and educational movement inspired by the ideal that the supreme aim of human life is working to create a more humane society”     

– American Ethical Union
Dec. 27, 2005
313. Sant Mat 13th century Undefined      



Sant Mat – “…was a loosely associated group of teachers that assumed prominence in the northern part of the Indian sub-continent from about the 13th century. Their teachings are distinguished theologically by inward loving devotion to a divine principle, and socially by an egalitarianism opposed to the qualitative distinctions of the Hindu caste hierarchy and to the religious differences between Hindu and Muslim.”     

– Wikipedia
“Sant Mat”
Dec. 27, 2005



Total population of “Religious” age 18+ adults in 2001: 166,887,700. Total of percentages in chart: 100%. also contacted the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain a list of all the religious organizations in the United States, but we learned that the IRS does not maintain a list solely dedicated to religious organizations. However, they do offer Publication 78, which lists charitable organizations (such as churches and nonprofits) that are eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. Those organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally less than $5,000 are not included.     

Related Link: Map of leading church bodies in the United States by county (2000).