The Constitution of the United States guarantees the free exercise of religious profession and worship, and this guaranty is repeated in the Constitutions of the forty-five States. Nearly all the sects and religious denominations existing in Europe are represented in the United States. At the census of 1880 there were 86,132 Protestant and 5975 Roman Catholic churches; 70,864 Protestant ministers, and 6366 Roman Catholic clergy. The Protestants returned 8,975,260 "members," or communicants; adding to this an estimate of the families of members and of adherents, the total attached to Protestantism would probably be about 30,000,000. In 1870 there were in all 63,082 churches, of which 3806 were Roman Catholic; and in the same year the number of "sittings" returned was 21,665,062, of which 1,990,514 were in Roman Catholic churches. There were in all 45 separate religious bodies returned in 1880.
For 1890 the church statistics were more complete. As there has been no statement for the whole country since then, they are here reproduced quite fully.
The term "organizations" includes churches or congregations, and also missions and chapels, when they have a form of organization.
By "edifices" is meant all buildings owned and used for religious worship. Two or more denominations are often joint owners of an edifice and its belongings. The fractions do not appear in the tables.
"Seating capacity" indicates the number of persons a building will seat at any one time. In cases of joint ownership and occupancy, the seating capacity of an edifice is given in full in connection with each denomination interested.
The "value" is the estimated worth of church buildings, their furniture and bells, and the ground on which the buildings stand. No account is taken of indebtedness. Parsonages are not included, nor is any other class of church property.
The column of "communicants or members" includes all who are permitted to partake of the Lord's Supper in denominations observing that sacrament, and those having full privileges in denominations like the Friends, the Unitarians, and the Jews.