TITLE: Adherents.com

ACCESS: http://www.adherents.com

Adherents.com is a collection of more than 41,000 "adherent statistics and religious geography citations." Adherents.com has no specific affiliation and claims to be the second most frequently visited general religion site on the Internet. The site is the brainchild of Preston Hunter, a computer programmer in Texas. Its target audience is "anybody who desires statistical information about the size or spread of a faith group or wants a general idea of the religious make up of a specific country, continent, state or province."

The homepage contains summary statistics of the world's major religions, the major branches of these religions, and a list of the largest religious groups in the United States. Within Islam, for example, 940 million Muslims are Sunni, while 120 million are Shiites. Also on this page are links to the religious affiliation of U.S. Presidents, Vice Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, members of Congress, and state governors.

Two disclaimers, taken from Adherents.com's homepage, must be kept in mind when navigating this site: Adherents.com incorporates statistics from several, sometimes contradictory, sources (often listed side-by-side), and the statistics provided on the site are not exhaustive. A visit to Adherents.com suggests a further caveat: the site itself needs maintenance. The link "Congressional Religious Affiliation" dates from 2000 and, of course, we have had a general election since then. Additionally, Adherents.com contains a number of broken and out-of-date Internet links.

The homepage also provides two handy indexes: "Religion by Location" and "Religion by Name." Each index provides a comprehensive, alphabetical listing of religious statistics. For instance, in the first index, we learn that 26 percent of Minnesotans are Lutheran. In the second index, we can find the number of Presbyterian churches and/or members in any particular state in the nation. Unfortunately, in the same index, we find no such state-by-state breakdown for the Lutheran Church in America, this country's largest Lutheran body. Such information is provided, however, for the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.

Bottom line: check Adherence.com for religious statistics, but be prepared to search further for up-to-date data.

Wendell Johnson
Waubonsee Community College

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