Pastors Per 10,000 People

The following graphic plots the number of employed pastors per ten thousand people in the United States since 1850. The data was collected from the US Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pastors Per 10,000 People | 1850-2000

Brad Wright comments:

It turns out that there have been about 1.2 pastors for every thousand people during the whole period. The stability is remarkable … In the church, there’s often a lot of talk about how Christianity is disappearing in the U.S. While the above figure doesn’t plot Christian pastors, per se, it does suggest that religion itself isn’t going anywhere.


  1. That is an interesting Graph. While the amount of pastors per 10,000 people hasn’t really changed much since the 1840s I would venture to say that there were more true Christians back then. With the rise of prosperity gospel (Osteen & co) and the emergent “church” thousands have been led astray and have a false hope. It’s just another reminder of how as Christians we need to be preaching the Gospel.

    I would like to hear your thoughts on it

    God bless,

  2. Sharon Gamble says:

    I am actually quite curious about the “emergent church”, too. Any good resources you would recommend?

  3. Ray Fowler says:

    Anthony and Sharon – There are quite a few resources out there on the emergent church. It gets tricky, because some churches call themselves emergent while others call themselves emerging – and they view these as two different categories. I don’t worry too much about the labels, because there is such a wide variety of belief and practice even within the emerging and emergent communities themselves.

    As far as a good resource to start learning about the movement, I would suggest D. A. Carson’s “Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.” It’s still fairly recent (2005), and I thought Carson presented a fair evaluation of the movement with both positives and cautions. (Although some within the emerging movement felt that he misrepresented them in some areas.)

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