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Dearly Departed: How Often Do Congregations Close?

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Abstract:

We establish for the first time a national mortality rate for religious congregations by determining the 2005 status of congregations in the 1998 National Congregations Study sample. The annual mortality rate for religious congregations is 1 percent, which is among the lowest mortality rates ever observed for any type of organization. This unusually low mortality rate probably indicates an organizational population whose weakest members live on in a weakened state rather than an organizational population that is unusually robust all the way down to its most vulnerable members.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2008.00410.x

Affiliations: 1: Shawna L. Anderson is a graduate student in sociology, Department of Sociology at the University of Arizona and Associate in Research at Duke University., Email: shawnaanderson@mac.com 2: Jessica Hamar Martinez is a graduate student in sociology at the University of Arizona., Email: jhamar@u.arizona.edu 3: Catherine Hoegeman is a graduate student in sociology at the University of Arizona., Email: hoegeman@u.arizona.edu 4: Gary Adler is a graduate student in sociology at the University of Arizona., Email: gadler@u.arizona.edu 5: Mark Chaves is a Professor of Sociology, Religion, and Divinity at Duke University., Email: mac58@soc.duke.edu

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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