Racial Diversity In Religion

How Ethnically Diverse are Religions?

Racial Diversity In Religion

Research by Pew ranks the least and most racially diverse religions.

A Protestant denomination, the Seventh-Day Adventists, weighs in as the most racially diverse religious group in America today.  The National Baptist Convention, another Protestant denomination, scores as the least racially diverse, reports the Pew Research Center.

29 religious groups were rated using the Herfindahl-Hirschman index, which in turn crunched data provided by the Pew Research Center from their latest Religious Landscape Study.

The Herfindahl-Hirschman index grades the racial diversity of groups on a 10-point scale.  A particular group with 20% membership in each of the following five categories would rank a perfect 10: white, black, Asian, Latino, and mixed-race/other Americans.

For a baseline reading, the United States at large rates a 6.6 on the scale with 66% white, 12% black, 4% Asian, 15% Latino, and 4% mixed/other. 


The index score for Seventh-Day Adventists is 9.1 with a congregation that is 37% white, 32% black, 8% Asian, 15% Latino, and 8% mixed/other.

The rest of the Top 5 most diverse are Muslim (8.7 H-H index rating), Jehovah’s Witness (8.6), Buddhist (8.4), and “nothing in particular” (6.9).

At the other extreme, the National Baptist Convention rates at 0.2 with its congregation that is 99% black.  Other groups scoring below 2.0 are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the United Methodist Church, reports the Huffington Post.

24 of the religious affiliations fall below the United States general population in their diversity score.  However, LifeWay, a Christian research group, reports that 67% of Americans who regularly attend church think that their denomination has “done enough to promote racial diversity.”

In other words, they are happy with their congregations as they currently are populated.  “Yet,” said Ed Stetzer, “it is hard for Christians to say they are united in Christ when they are congregating separately.”


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