Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) blogs

Presbyterians by the Numbers

Subscribe to this blog feed icon

About this blog

Perspectives on Presbyterians and the larger religious scene from the research staff of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

PC(USA) Research Services

U.S. Congregations

Recent posts



See all PC(USA) Blogs

PC(USA) Home

June 9, 2014

The Presbyterian Panel: Listening to Presbyterians since 1973!

by Ida Smith

Did you know the average Presbyterian is a 63-year-old married female who graduated from college? How do we know this? From the Presbyterian Panel! 

The Presbyterian Panel helps church leaders know who Presbyterians are and what they think and do. The Panel consists of scientifically selected members, ruling elders, and teaching elders who respond to quarterly surveys over a three-year period. Besides being used to create a vital “snapshot” of current Presbyterians—identifying demographics such as median age, education level, and political party affiliation—results from the Panel also help guide PC(USA) policy formation, program development, and evaluation. 

This summer, the PC(USA)’s office of Research Services will select a new group of panelists to answer questionnaires for the 2015-2017 Panel term. To begin this process, a representative sample of Presbyterian congregations will be asked to send a list of their members or ruling elders to Research Services. These lists will be kept confidential, used only by Research Services to randomly select names of members and ruling elders to invite to participate as a panelist. Additionally, teaching elders will be randomly selected from lists maintained by the Office of the General Assembly.

Participating in the Panel is entirely voluntary. A Panel survey normally takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, and surveys are sent approximately every three months. Surveys can be conveniently completed online or we can mail a paper version to be returned in postage-paid return envelopes. Beginning in 2015, there will even be an option to complete surveys by phone! If someone you know is selected to be a panelist, please encourage him or her to participate.  If you are selected to be a panelist, please say “yes!” to this unique opportunity to serve the church.

Click here to learn more about the Presbyterian Panel, see examples of survey topics, or find results from previous Panel reports. For questions, please call 800-728-7228, ext. 2040, or email

Stop by the Research Services booth at General Assembly if you will be in Detroit!  There you'll find staff members to answer all your questions!



May 19, 2014

Women Rule?

In Presbyterian news this month a large congregation, Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, called the Reverend Shannon Kershner to lead their congregation.   Reverend Kershner was previously pastor of Black Mountain Presbyterian Church in Black Mountain, North Carolina, the 27th largest PCUSA congregation with 657 members.  Fourth Presbyterian Church, with 5,251 members, is the third largest church in the denomination, behind Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta and Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, Minnesota.  Previously, the largest congregation being led by a woman (Reverend Pamela Driesell, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta) had 2,202 members.

According to the most recent ...

Read more →

May 15, 2014

Who Supports the Death Penalty?

In a previous blog post we examined worshipers’ opinions concerning the death penalty.  In 2001 and 2008, the U.S. Congregational Life Survey asked the following question: “Are there any cases in which you believe persons convicted of murder should receive the death penalty?”  A majority of worshipers support the death penalty for persons convicted of murder.

This mirrors Americans’ opinions on the death penalty; the majority of Americans (55%) favor the death penalty.  The Pew Research Center finds men are slightly more likely than women to say they support it (58% for men; 52% for women).  Also, Americans ages ...

Read more →

May 7, 2014

Kill the Death Penalty?

Last week, the execution of an Oklahoma inmate has revived the ongoing debate about the death penalty in the United States.  Drugs administered before the lethal injection, which contain a sedative and painkiller, did not work and the inmate suffered a painful death.  Could this embolden the call to do away with the death penalty?    The use of the death penalty has been declining around the world.  The United States ranked in the top five countries with the most executions, following Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and China, which had the most. 

A recent Gallup poll shows that, in the case ...

Read more →

May 2, 2014

Older Adult Sunday

In the last blog post we learned what the first Thursday and first Saturday in May (at least in Kentucky) represents.  We also know Mother’s Day falls on the second Sunday of May.  What about the first Sunday in May? On this day, at least in Presbyterian congregations, older adults are honored on “Older Adult Sunday”.  

In the United States, 26% of the population is 55 and older.  However, for mainline Protestant churches, Presbyterians included, the median age of members is much older.  As of 2012, the median age of Presbyterians is 63.

Half of Presbyterian members are older ...

Read more →

previous 1 2 3 4 5 6