Religious organizations operate churches, temples, monasteries, mosques, and similar places of worship. The largest groups include Christians, Muslims, and Hindus; major types of Christian churches include Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox.
Religious organizations count about 6 billion followers worldwide, or about 85% of the population. Christians account for about one-third of the world's population, followed by Muslims (25%), and Hindus (15%), according to the Pew Research Center. Among the world's Christian denominations, Catholics are the most numerous. Sizes of individual congregations vary greatly.
In the US, religious organizations encompass about 350,000 congregations, according to Hartford Institute for Religious Research and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. About 65% of Americans identify as Christian, according to Statista. Protestants represent the largest share of Christians in the US.
Demand is driven by consumers' desire for spiritual growth, guidance, inspiration, and demographics — older Americans are most likely to attend church. The profitability of a church depends primarily on the congregation's ability to attract members who can provide financial support. Large congregations have advantages in their ability to offer more programs and activities. Small congregations can compete effectively by maintaining stronger connections with members.
More than half of Americans belong to a church or synagogue, while more than one-third of Americans say they attend services weekly or almost every week, according to Gallup. Major factors for attending a place of worship include sermons that teach more about scripture or help members become more connected to religion, in addition to spiritual programs geared toward children and teens.
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Religious congregations are similar to charitable organizations, in that they solicit money in various ways to fund charitable and educational programs,
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Glossary of Acronyms