Religious Organizations in the US Industry Market Research Report Now Available From IBISWorld

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Slowing participation numbers and donations, increased skepticism among younger generations and new religions brought stateside by immigrants are trends that will likely occur in the next several years. Despite lower church attendance, revenue will experience slow growth as higher disposable incomes allow individuals to make more donations. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated its report on the Religious Organizations industry.

IBISWorld Market Research

IBISWorld Market Research

Declining attendance has negatively affected donation rates to religious organizations

The Religious Organizations industry suffered over the past five years as charitable donations and attendance at religious institutions fell. Historically, religious organizations have performed unusually well in the United States. In most developed economies, higher standards of living and education have consistently led to a drop in religious adherence. According to IBISWorld industry analyst David Yang, “While religious belief has also fallen in the United States, it has declined at a much slower rate when compared with other developed nations.” According to a Gallup survey, compared with the rest of the world, the United States is one of the most religious nations, given its high standards of living and education levels. Nevertheless, the recession reduced disposable income, causing charitable donations to fall. As a result, in the five years to 2012, industry revenue is expected to fall at an average 1.8% per year to $98.5 billion.

The four largest religious traditions (considered enterprises by the Pew Forum's Religious Landscape Survey), Evangelical Protestants, Mainline Protestants, Historically Black Churches and the Catholic Church, account for a large portion of the religious population in the United States. Within these main traditions, there are several denominations with slight variations in beliefs. According to the Pew Forum, while more individuals are changing faiths, most of these changes take place within Protestant Denominations. As a result, concentration in the Religious Organizations industry has not significantly changed over the past five years. “Smaller religious traditions, such as Buddhism and Islam, are growing, but they still account for a very small percentage of the religious population and industry revenue,” says Yang.

Nevertheless, participation in religious organizations has declined across the board over the past the five years. According to the 2011 Gallup poll, 29.0% of Americans reported that they attended services at least once per week, compared with 30.0% in 2007. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who seldom attend service rose from 28.0% in 2007 to 30.0% in 2011. As such, donations to congregations have declined. Technological change has also influenced religious beliefs. While many religious organizations have embraced the web as a communication medium, the internet has also provided a forum for nonbeliever communities. In addition, religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church, have increasingly lost credibility with the younger generation due to scandals and conservative stances on social issues. Nonetheless, technology and demographic trends have not majorly hurt industry revenue because the older population typically contributes the bulk of donations. As a result, IBISWorld expects industry revenue to grow 1.2% in 2012 as disposable income increases.

In the five years to 2017, IBISWorld projects that industry revenue will grow slowly, benefiting from modest economic improvements. The unemployment rate, for example, is forecast to decline, which will increase disposable income. Therefore, charitable donations will grow. However, as the population age, the number of individuals who grew up without religion will continue to grow. Consequently, while industry revenue is expected to recover over the next five years, the long-term outlook is not promising. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Religious Organizations in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

This industry consists of religious organizations that provide religious worship or promote religious activities. It includes organizations that administer an organized religion and smaller faiths that are not recognized in mainstream religious teaching. Establishments include churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, and other houses of worship, as well as convents, monasteries and community centers. This industry does not include schools and hospitals operated by religious organizations.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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