Comparison of Changes in Population, Southern Baptist Churches, and Resident Members by Region and State, 1990 to 2000

 Churches 

The Nation 

Based on 2000 Annual Church Profile information, there were 41,514 constituted Southern Baptist churches physically located in the United States. This is an increase of 3,486 churches since 1990—a 9.2 percent increase, which compares unfavorably with the population growth rate of 13.1 percent. (See table 4).
 

Regions 
  • Even though the Southern Baptist Convention is national in scope, 4 of 5 SBC churches are still located in the South.
  • In percentage distribution of SBC churches, the Midwest is the second largest region (11.2%), followed by the West (7.6%), and the Northeast (1.6%). (See table 4).
  • The distribution of SBC churches across the regions of the country in 2000 is similar to 1990.
  • Even though the Northeast had the smallest net increase of churches, it experienced the highest rate of increase. Overall, the Northeast increased its number of SBC churches by 54.1 percent during the 1990s.
  • The number of SBC churches in the West increased by 21.8 percent, in the South by 7.9 percent, and in the Midwest by 5.9 percent.
States 
The top five states in number of churches is as follows:
  • Texas 4,973
  • North Carolina 3,717
  • Georgia 3,233
  • Alabama 3,148
  • Tennessee 2,972

While these are all Southern states, at the other end of the spectrum, the five states with the fewest number of churches are all in the Northeast. (See table 5 and figures 7 and 8).
 

The top five states in the net increase of SBC churches during the 1990s were:
  • Texas 676
  • Florida 296
  • California 273
  • North Carolina 183
  • Georgia 178

Population per church 

Nation 
  • Despite aggressive church planting efforts during the 1990s, the growth rate of SBC churches lagged behind the growth rate of the population. In the United States, there were 6,779 people for every Southern Baptist church in 2000. (See table 7). This is very similar to the 1990 figure of 6,542 people for every Southern Baptist Church.          
Regions 
  • In the South, there are 3,027 people for every Southern Baptist church.
  • There are 79,048 people for every Southern Baptist church in the Northeast.
  • The Midwest and West regions fall between these two extremes with ratios of 14,155 to 1 and 19,949 to 1 respectively.
  • The starting of new churches has not kept up with the rapid population growth in the South. Specifically, the population per church ratio worsened from 2,784 to 3,037 between 1990 and 2000.
  • Most notable is the 30 percent improvement in the population per church ratio in the Northeast as indicated by an index of change of 68.4. 
  • Even with a net gain of 232 churches, the Mountain division of the West region did not keep up with its 33 percent population growth from 1990 to 2000.

Download full Research Report, Comparison of Changes in Population, Southern Baptist Churches, and Resident Members by Region and State, 1990 to 2000, by Richie Stanley