The expansion of religious affiliation: An explanation of the growth of church participation in the United States 1850-1930


Journal Article

This paper focuses on the period in U.S. history that experienced the most rapid rate of increase of church membership-the decades between 1850 and 1930-in order to explain synchronic and diachronic variation in those rates. Using pooled cross-sectional time series analysis, different predictions are derived and tested from theories of secularization/social control, comparative disadvantage, resource mobilization, and pluralism. The effects of spatial diffusion and the momentum of religious tradition also are estimated. Our conclusion is that religious monopoly-not diversity-fuels religious expansion. This finding is bolstered by the complementary result that ethnic homogeneity is also conducive to religious expansion. Together these results highlight the importance for mobilization of religious and ethnocultural dominance in a particular niche. © 1992.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Blau, JR; Land, KC; Redding, K

Published Date

  • January 1, 1992

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 329 - 352

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0049-089X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0049-089X(92)90001-W

Citation Source

  • Scopus