How Many Evangelicals Are There?
It's a (seemingly) simple question, and it's nearly impossible to answer.
It’s my last post of 2023. It’s time to get super nerdy.
The General Social Survey has been releasing it’s 2022 survey results in drips and drabs this year. The first release of the data contained a bunch of variables, but it also excluded the one that most people really care about - religious affiliation. When someone wants to know what share of Americans are Catholics, or evangelicals - the GSS is the “gold standard” for answering this question.
There are very good reasons for this. One is that the GSS has just been around forever. It began five decades ago. Another is that it’s been asking the same questions with the same response options over the last fifty years. That’s fantastic for consistency.
I was just poking around on the GSS website and noticed that they had done a second release of the 2022 data. (Yes, this is nerd Christmas). So, I downloaded it then ran a really long script to create the religious classification scheme that is commonly used in social science. It’s called RELTRAD. Here are the results.