Membership Drops for Largest U.S. Denominations

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Some of the largest denominations in the U.S. are losing members, according to an annual yearbook compiled by the National Council of Churches.

The report, titled 2011 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, showed that the Roman Catholic Church saw growth of less than 1 percent this year.

And while Southern Baptist membership fell for the third straight year, the Presbyterian church led with the greatest membership drop of the 25 largest denominations, with membership down 2.6 percent.

"The direction of membership remains very stable," writes the Yearbook's editor, the Rev. Dr. Eileen Lindner, in the newest edition released this week. "That is, churches which have been increasing in membership in recent years continue to grow and likewise, those churches which have been declining in recent years continue to decline."

Other denominations reported in the 2011 yearbook included: 

  • The United Methodist Church: 7.8 million, down 1 percent.
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: 4.5 million, down 1.96 percent.
  • Assemblies of God: 2.9 million, up .52 percent.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 6 million, up 1.42 percent.
  • The Church of God in Christ: 5.5 million, no membership updates reported.
  • National Baptist Convention, USA: 5 million, no membership updates reported.
  • National Baptist Convention of America, 3.5 million, no membership updates reported.

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