United States of America


About country profiles

The country profiles are intended to provide some background and context for the descriptions of the churches. These profiles should be read in conjunction with those of the churches in the country.

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Surface area:9600000 km2
Capital:Washington D.C.
GNI per capita:41400 US$
Classification:Major industrialized economy




Christian: 85.00%

Jewish: 2.00%

Muslim: 1.50%

Other: 3.00%


Catholics: 65900000

Protestants: 61294590

Orthodox: 5922360

Anglicans: 2206000

Independent: 80286300

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The first inhabitants of America were the Indians. As of the 16th century Europeans established colonies in the "new world" and brought in slaves from Africa. The British colonies declared their independence and founded the United States in 1776. A conflict over state rights and slavery led to the Civil War of 1861-63. In the second half of the 19th century the United States became a major economic power, through mass immigration from Europe, industrialization and expansion to the west. The American Indians were forced onto reservations or into assimilation. In the 20th century the United States emerged as a political and military power, confronting the communist block. Since the end of the cold war it is the only super power. Immigration in the 20th century, especially from Latin America and Asia, has contributed to the great diversity of the society. Christianity came to the US with the settlers. All the major traditions and denominations are present. The Great Awakenings of the 19th century have played a major role in the emergence of the Evangelical, Holiness, Pentecostal and Charismatic movements and their extension in the world. The African American churches were at the heart of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950-60s which brought an end to racial segregation. New forms of church, e.g. megachurches, non-denominational churches, have originated in the US and spread to other countries. The Catholic Church is the single largest church. Baptists make up 33 percent of the Protestants and independents, Pentecostals 18 percent, and non-denominational Evangelicals and Charismatics 12 percent. Almost all the Orthodox patriarchates have archdioceses or dioceses in the US and are integrated in the society. The National Council of Churches is the ecumenical body, and the National Association of Evangelicals is affiliated with the WEA.

More on the United States:

Ecumenical solidarity visit to the United States

Church leaders and communities facing situations of violence in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and New Orleans shared their experiences with an international ecumenical team that visited the United States from 15-23 September 2007. Read more...

Portraits of church life in the United States

Two multimedia portraits of church life in the United States of America can be viewed on the 'Keeping the Faith' website: The Church of Mary Magdalene in Seattle and Blessing of the crab fleet in Alaska.



WCC member churches based in United States of America

WCC member churches present in United States of America

Note: The list of churches present in countries is still in development.

Last updated: 01/01/06