Geographical Change in Religious Denomination Affiliation in Mississippi, 1970-2000
Mississippi State University
The religious landscape of Mississippi has long been dominated by evangelical Protestant denominations, most prominently the Southern Baptist and United Methodist. These two denominations have led the state in total number of churches and church members since the early 20th century, with few affiliations contending for their numbers. However, as the aggregate population of the state increases for the first time since the 1930's, these traditional denominational patterns have been subjected to shifts in demographic conditions occurring throughout the state. To evaluate the impacts of demographic changes on traditional geographic religious patterns, an evaluation comparing religious and demographic variables for 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 was completed. Results of this evaluation indicated changes in Mississippi's patterns of denominational affiliation, with the dominating Southern Baptist, United Methodist, and Presbyterian affiliations experiencing losses in church adherent percentages, and increased church adherent growth in Pentecostal, Latter Day Saints, and Church of Christ affiliations.