How many Asian American churches in the USA

July 2, 2009

This blog post is an attempt to link to specific sources that have numbers for churches reaching specific Asian ethnicities. These will add up to an estimated total number of Asian American churches.

In a 2007 report, “Asian American Churches: An Introductory Survey,” published by L2 Foundation in partnership with Leadership Network, the report’s author, DJ Chuang, cited “an estimated 7,000 U.S. Protestant churches have a majority attendance of Asian Americans.” This rough estimate assumed an “under-count” based on numbers gathered then.

Upon further research, the total number of Asian American churches is more reasonably estimated between 6,500 and 7,000. This ballpark figure provides a sense of scale. (Updated estimate for Asian Indian churches.)

With an estimated Asian American population of 15.2 million (circa July 2007), this indicates the number of unchurched is rather large. The Census Bureau projects that the Asian and Pacific Islander population will double to nearly 25 million (7.1 percent of U.S. population) by 2030, and triple to more than 37 million (9.3 percent of U.S. population) by 2050.[p]

Here are the estimates with cited sources linked (when available) and annotated footnotes:

Estimate Asian Ethnicity
4,000 Korean [k]
1,200 Chinese [c]
250 Japanese [j]
800 Asian Indian [i]
300 Vietnamese [v]
90 Hmong
80 Cambodian [se]
50 Lao [1]
10 Montagnard
4 Thai [t]
200 Filipino [f]
124 Indonesian [d]
15 Burmese [b]**
7,123 [estimated total]

While the number of Asian American churches is not easily obtained, these estimates can be useful to inform the vast ministry opportunities that do exist. [*] Please add a comment below to suggest other related sources.

———-

Footnotes:

[p] North American Mission Board (NAMB) summary highlights from the Pulpit and Pew research reports on Asian Americans

[*] “Ethnic network data is not collected or updated consistently, so it is difficult to develop a clear profile of congregations, membership, and pastoral leadership. Here are some examples: Dr. John Mizuki of the Japanese Evangelization Center (U. S. Center for World Mission) in Pasadena, California, lists 190 Japanese American congregations with an estimated membership of 32,573. The 2001 Korean Church Directory of America lists 3,402 Korean Protestant churches. About half of the Korean churches are Presbyterian, but substantial numbers are Methodist, Baptist, nondenominational, Catholic and Charismatic churches. … The 2000-2001 Directory of Chinese Churches, Bible Study Groups, & Christian Organizations in North America lists 819 Chinese Protestant churches in the United States. Raymond Williams estimated 110,000 to 125,000 Asian Indian Christians in 1995.” — Page 19 of Asian American Religious Leadership Today: A Preliminary Inquiry published by the Pulpit & Pew: Research on Pastoral Leadership (Durham, NC: Duke Divinity School, 2005). Adding up the reported figures in Table 7 on page 18 of the same report, there are 5,237 APA churches, based on data from the 2004 Yearbook of Churches in the United States and Canada.

[k]Korean American Churches as Partners in Community Development: The Untold Story” by Korean Churches for Community Development (June 2008); PCA MNA Korean Ministries: “… about 4,000 Korean language churches have been planted across the US and Canada by these first generation Koreans.” Also see largest Korean churches in North America.

[c] “1,828 Chinese Christian churches and organizations” listed at www.immanuel.net/overseaschurch/; “over 1,000″ cf. “A Chinese American Awakening; Immigrants Help to Re-energize U.S. Christianity” in The Washington Post, January 11, 2003 [cached]; “over 900″ cf. Footnote 71 on page 49, “Chinese Protestant Nationalism in the United States, 1880-1927 by Timothy Tseng, in “New Spiritual Homes: Religion and Asian Americans.” Edited by David K. Yoo (pub. 1999). Also see AFC’s Chinese Church Directory; list of largest Chinese Churches in North America.

[j] extrapolated from 153 Japanese American churches are listed at jems.org/churches.html
[i] cf. 2005 research for “The Coconut Generation” estimated 800; GaramChai.com lists 105 churches at garamchai.com/church.htm + 26 in NY/NJ + 24 in TX; 85 Mar Thoma churches in the Dioceses of North America and Europe
[v] cf. Directory of Vietnamese Pastors & Churches; www.cmalliance.org/district/vietnamese and www.vndistrict.org

[se] Southeast Asian churches estimates from contacts at CM&A and SBC, cf. www.cmalliance.org/district/hmong, www.cmalliance.org/locate/church?dc=63
[1] cf. Lao Southern Baptist Fellowship’s churches listing at lsbf.org/lsbf_church/church_main.html
[t] cf. www.at-la.com/@la-god/ethnic.htm
[f] cf. National Association of Filipino American United Methodists; Godfrey Catanus
[d] cf. www.sahabatsurgawi.net/gereja_dunia/usa.html
[b] cf. lamcf.org/?page_id=421; www.fbbcsf.org/burmesechurches.htm **(added 7/5/09)

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