2010 Census of Orthodox Christian Churches in the USA Now Complete
JOHNSTOWN, PA -- Data is now available from the 2010 US Orthodox
Christian Census which our diocese participated in. This census was part of the national “Religious
Congregations and Membership Study 2010, that was conducted by Alexei
Krindatch, a researcher engaged by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America.
The following represents a summary of the research findings:
What is the US National
Orthodox Census and what it tells us about?
The 2010 US Orthodox Christian Census provides
monastic communities in American Orthodox Christian
Churches including the so-called Oriental Orthodox Christian
- the most inclusive category of church membership which includes children and
anyone participating even occasionally in church life;
attendees” - the persons attending church on the regular basis.
on adherents and regular attendees are available for each local Orthodox parish
(congregation), each national American Orthodox Christian Church and for each
geographic area and each county of the USA.
Why is this
National Orthodox Census unique?
The data in the Census was obtained directly from
the local Orthodox parishes - not from the national church headquarters or
regional judicatories (dioceses). Therefore the 2010 National Orthodox Census provides
the most reliable and accurate information on the Orthodox
in the United States.
What is the
total membership in all American
There are roughly 1,044,000 adherents of the
various Orthodox Christian
Churches in the United States. This figure includes
227,000 members of the Oriental Orthodox Christian
Churches such as Coptic, Armenian,
Syriac and Malankara
Churches. The American
Orthodox Christians worship in 2,380 local Orthodox parishes which belong to 20
different national Orthodox Church bodies including 6 Oriental Orthodox
Orthodox Churches growing?
The answer to this question is “Yes.” From
2000-2010, the total number of Orthodox parishes in America increased for 16 percent.
growing groups among national Orthodox Churches in the US are: Bulgarian Orthodox Eastern
Diocese (+122% increase in parishes), Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese (+121%),
and Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church (+89%). Out of twenty
national Orthodox Churches participating in 2010 US Orthodox Census, only three
declined in number of parishes during 2000-2010: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of
Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church and Armenian Apostolic
Church of America (Catholicosate Cilicia).
of American Orthodox Christian
Churches are the biggest
and which are the smallest ones?
In terms of membership, of all US Orthodox Christian
Churches, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA) is by far the largest
one. According to 2010 US Orthodox Census, GOA
has nearly 477,000 members. Put differently, 46% of all Orthodox Church members
in the USA belong to GOA. In terms of number of parishes, however, Orthodox
Church in America has more
local congregations than GOA does: 551 and 525
respectively. The smallest of American
Orthodox Churches is Albanian Orthodox Diocese of America. Although it is considered
as a national Church, it has just 2 parishes with 700 members total.
the members of American
Churches regular and
frequent church goers?
There is no one general answer to this question. It
depends on particular Church. Nationwide, for all US Orthodox Christian
Churches combined, the proportion of the regular church attendees in the total
of church adherents is 27 percent. But there are huge differences in the
frequency of church attendance across the various American Orthodox Churches. The
regular church attendees constitute as much as 77% of all church members in the
Holy Orthodox Church in North America, 53 % in Malankara Orthodox
and 51% in Coptic Orthodox Church. Quite differently, no more than 15% of all
members attend church regularly in the case of American Diocese of Macedonian
Orthodox Church (11%), Vicariate for Palestinian Orthodox Communities (12%),
Armenian Church of North America Catholicosate Etchmiadzin (13%) and
Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church (15%).
large are American Orthodox parishes?
The size of an “average” Orthodox parish in America
varies greatly from one Orthodox Church to the other. The most sizeable parishes are in the Greek
Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA). An “average” GOA
parish has 908 persons. At the same time, the parishes of the Holy Orthodox
Church in North America, Bulgarian Eastern
Orthodox Diocese and American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese are relatively
small: 81, 130 and 133 persons per parish on an average.
in America do the members of
Orthodox Christian Churches
live and worship?
Orthodox Christians live and have their churches in
states. At the same time, 48% - almost half – of all Orthodox Church members
live in just five states: California (14.5% of
all American Orthodox Church members), New York
(13.5%), Illinois (7.2%), New
Jersey (6.9%) and Massachusetts
(5.9%). In terms of the number of the local Orthodox parishes (rather than
church members), five states with the biggest number of Orthodox congregations
are: California (255 Orthodox parishes total),
Pennsylvania (250), New
York (240), Florida (136) and New Jersey (128).
US states have the highest proportion of the Orthodox Church members in the
state’s total population?
Nationwide, the proportion of adherents of the
various Orthodox Christian Churches
in the total country’s population is small: 0.34%. In certain states, however,
this proportion is significantly higher. These states are: Alaska
(1.93%), Massachusetts (0.93%), New Jersey (0.83%), New York
(0.72%) and Rhode Island
US Orthodox Census tell us
about all Orthodox Christians living in the United States?
The answer to this question is “No.” The 2010 US
Orthodox Census provided information only on persons who are – at least
marginally – involved in the Church life and, therefore, are known to the local
Orthodox parishes. Similarly to many other Christian denominations in America,
there can be significant number of persons who were once baptized in the Orthodox
Church and who still consider themselves as being Orthodox Christians, but who
do not participate and attend at all. In other words, the 2010 US Orthodox
Census was Census of members of US Orthodox Christian Churches rather than
Census of the entire Orthodox Christian population in America.
Read the Complete Results Here
View More Statistical Finds Regarding Orthodoxy in America