The Negative Relationship between Size and the Probability of Weekly Attendance in Churches in the United States

Journal Article

Are people less likely to attend large churches? Using nationally representative data, I find a negative relationship between size and the probability of attendance for Conservative, Mainline, and black Protestants and for Catholics in parishes larger than 500 attenders. The addition of control variables does not change these patterns. These results support the theory that group cohesion lies at the heart of the size-participation relationship in churches. With the rapid growth of megachurches in the United States, a negative relationship between size and frequency of attendance could serve to accelerate aggregate declines in attendance. Methodologically, this article demonstrates how Bayesian hierarchical models can handle complex data structures and imputation procedures in a unified model.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Eagle, D

Published Date

  • January 1, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2 /

Start / End Page

  • 237802311561716 - 237802311561716

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2378-0231

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2378-0231

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/2378023115617168


  • en