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Mainline US Protestant churches continue decline in numbers

CWN - February 18, 2011

America’s mainline Protestant denominations are losing members, the new 2011 Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches shows.

Overall church membership in the US dropped by 1% last year, settling at 145.8 million. Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, and Presbyterian congregations saw their memberships fall by more than 1%. The nation’s largest Protestant group, the Southern Baptists, experienced a 0.42% decline.

The Catholic Church, which dwarfs the size of any American Protestant group, saw a slight increase in membership—0.57%-- attributable mostly to immigration.

Among the 6 religious groups that claim more than 5 million members, only one saw growth of more than 1%. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, popularly known as the Mormons, grew by 1.42%.

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