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Michigan State University

Religion: Data and Statistics: Politics & Public Opinion

This is a guide to finding data and statistics about religion.


The Association of Religion Data Archives provides QuickStats about religious beliefs and attitudes using data from major national surveys.

World Values Surveys

The World Values Survey investigates values and cultural changes in societies all over the world. A variety of questions on religion and morality are included. Registration is required to access data files.  Online anlysis options are available.

Publications based on this survey that discuss religion include:
-Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide
-The Relations between Religion and Politics in the Contemporary Western World


The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research is one of the world's leading archives of social science data, specializing in data from surveys of public opinion. The data held by the Roper Center range from the 1930s, when survey research was in its infancy, to the present. Most of the data are from the United States, but over 50 nations are represented.

Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

"The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, launched in 2001, seeks to promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs.  The Forum pursues its mission by delivering timely, impartial information to national opinion leaders, including government officials and journalists. As a nonpartisan, non-advocacy organization, the Forum does not take positions on policy debates."

  • Surveys
    As part of its mission to explore the role religion plays in American public life, the Pew Forum develops and releases an annual survey on religion and public life. In addition, the Forum periodically commissions shorter polls on particularly timely issues.
  • Datasets
    This page contains links to the Pew Forum's survey data which are currently available on the Web. Survey data are released after all reporting is completed and are posted on the Web as quickly as possible.

Featured Study
Faith on the Hill: The Religious Affiliations of Members of Congress

Pew Global Attitudes Project is a series of worldwide public opinion surveys that encompasses a broad array of subjects ranging from people's assessments of their own lives to their views about the current state of the world and important issues of the day.
Some of these surveys include questions about religion.  In particular, views on Jews and Muslims.

Hudson Center for Religious Freedom

The Religious Freedom in the World Survey was conducted by the Hudson Institute.  The website contains selected essays and statistics online.  MSU provides access to the full report through our LexisNexis microfiche collection (Call Number: SRI R5400-5 2009, Government Documents Microforms, 3 West).

Council on American-Islamic Relations

"The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR is America's largest Islamic civil liberties group."

CAIR publishes occasional reports of studies about American Muslims.  For example:

Public Religion Research institute

PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy. They conduct public opinion polls on a variety of different topics, specializing in the quantitative and qualitative study of political issues as they relate to religious values.Their research explores and illuminates America’s changing cultural, religious, and political landscape. Their mission is to help journalists, scholars, pundits, thought leaders, clergy, and the general public better understand debates on public policy issues, and the important cultural and religious dynamics shaping American society and politics.   Topics they provide information on include: abortion and reproductive health, immigration, politics and elections, climate change and science, law and criminal justice, race and ethnicity, the economy, LBGTQ, religion and culture, and sports.   Access the 2020 Census of American Religion here and the American Values Atlas.  There are data sets you can download.

Pew Research on Religion

Surveys, analyses and event transcripts related to religion and public affairs from the Pew Forum.

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American National Election Studies

The American National Election Studies (ANES) produces high quality data on voting, public opinion, and political participation to serve the research needs of social scientists, teachers, students, policy makers and journalists who want to better understand the theoretical and empirical foundations of national election outcomes.

The surveys include questions on religion.  For quick stats look in the Guide to Public Opinion for Social & Religious Characteristics of the Electorate.

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