Christian Science Statistics: Practitioners, Teachers, and Churches in the United States


Stephen Barrett, M.D.
March 13, 2016

Membership in the Christian Science Church has been steadily declining for 45 years. The first table lists the total number of practitioners and teachers in each state, which has declined an average of about 5% per year. The second table lists the number of churches, which has declined about 2% per year. Through 2005, these figures were obtained by manually counting the number of listings in the Christian Science Journal. The 2009, 2013, and 2016 numbers were extracted from the listings in the church’s online directory. Practitioners listed in more than one state were tabulated only in the state used as their primary address. The 2016 online directory also listed 432 “nurses” in the United States.

Christian Science contends that illness is an illusion caused by faulty beliefs and that prayer heals by replacing bad thoughts with good ones. Christian Science practitioners work by trying to argue the sick thoughts out of the patient’s mind. Consultations can take place in person, by telephone, or even by mail. Individuals may also be able to attain correct beliefs by themselves through prayer or concentration. There is no scientific evidence that Christian Science methods influence the course of any disease. The steady membership decline is not surprising because the church’s doctrines have little appeal to modern youth.

Practitioners and Teachers

Date  1/71 1/76 1/79 2/91 2/96 9/05 2/16
U.S. Total 4,965 4,302 3,878 2,237 1,802 1161 942
Alabama 19 12 12 8 3 6 4
Alaska 2 5 5 5 3 3 4
Arizona 57 66 67 29 44 32 22
Arkansas 20 27 26 12 6 6 2
California 1,246 1,087 986 571 435 259 180
Colorado 84 70 68 42 43 32 35
Connecticut 61 62 54 35 26 17 13
Delaware 6 8 7 5 3 1 4
Florida 376 336 311 210 182 90 65
Georgia 51 40 34 26 23 16 16
Hawaii 8 13 16 6 6 6 6
Idaho 11 14 12 8 11 6 8
Illinois 314 241 204 106 77 46 33
Indiana 77 67 55 30 18 9 9
Iowa 32 29 26 14 7 5 2
Kansas 45 41 38 16 11 10 6
Kentucky 24 19 19 8 6 6 2
Louisiana 31 28 22 12 8 7 5
Maine 28 25 25 12 5 16 20
Maryland 49 44 44 36 25 16 23
Massachusetts 295 272 247 152 124 101 97
Michigan 187 164 124 72 51 35 32
Minnesota 47 43 4w1 22 13 8 11
Mississippi 6 6 8 3 2 1 2
Missouri 134 107 99 58 45 36 37
Montana 14 13 12 9 7 7 9
Nebraska 28 19 15 3 4 2 1
Nevada 13 14 13 6 6 5 7
New Hampshire 56 21 18 7 10 10 8
New Jersey 110 88 69 34 27 21 11
New Mexico 21 16 17 17 12 11 11
New York 333 261 224 96 75 35 34
North Carolina 35 41 34 38 34 16 6
North Dakota 4 6 4 2 0 0 0
Ohio 194 168 147 80 61 34 19
Oklahoma 67 61 52 22 14 10 2
Oregon 112 105 90 51 49 32 28
Pennsylvania 133 107 96 29 25 14 11
Rhode Island 12 8 9 5 5 2 4
South Carolina 13 12 17 16 12 8 7
South Dakota 6 7 4 1 2 1 0
Tennessee 33 25 19 13 10 11 10
Texas 237 214 201 107 99 60 43
Utah 12 10 7 5 3 4 3
Vermont 8 8 8 4 4 1 4
Virginia 42 46 47 46 43 30 23
Washington 137 118 116 79 65 44 41
West Virginia 9 6 7 7 4 3 1
Wisconsin 75 65 64 34 30 22 15
Wyoming 6 6 6 4 4 3 0
District of Columbia 44 31 34 24 10 5 6

Churches

Date 1/71 1/76 1/79 8/86 2/91 2/96 2/03  9/05 12/09 1/13 2/16
U.S. Total 1,829 1,780 1,721 1,563 1,450 1,284 1,108 1,010 911 867 778
Alabama 7 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 6
Alaska 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 3 3 3
Arizona 10 13 15 17 20 19 18 18 17 14 16
Arkansas 12 12 12 10 10 10 8 8 5 5 5
California 327 310 298 273 238 225 194 174 162 154 140
Colorado 26 27 27 26 25 23 20 20 20 19 18
Connecticut 27 29 27 26 24 24 22 19 17 16 17
Delaware 3 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 5 4
Florida 83 82 83 88 85 82 71 64 60 59 52
Georgia 15 15 16 18 19 18 13 12 12 12 12
Hawaii 2 3 3 2 2 2 2 4 2 2 2
Idaho 12 12 13 8 7 6 3 2 2 2 2
Illinois 118 117 114 100 99 76 65 61 51 48 38
Indiana 55 51 46 38 34 32 25 24 21 19 18
Iowa 27 26 25 20 16 11 11 10 8 6 4
Kansas 32 29 25 18 14 13 8 7 5 5 5
Kentucky 12 12 11 9 8 7 7 6 4 3 3
Louisiana 14 13 13 9 9 8 7 6 6 6 6
Maine 11 10 9 10 11 10  9 10 10 9 9
Maryland 20 20 19 21 23 19 16 15 14 13 11
Massachusetts 72 70 69 65 61 51 49 43 43 39 35
Michigan 84 81 82 68 58 49 44 38 31 29 27
Minnesota 28 25 25 19 17 16 13 12 10 7 7
Mississippi 8 8 8 6 4 2 1 1 1 1 1
Missouri 52 50 49 40 33 29 23 24 20 18 17
Montana 11 10 10 8 8 8 6 6 6 6 5
Nebraska 19 19 16 12 11 10 8 7 6 7 6
Nevada 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
New Hampshire 17 17 6 14 15 14 13 13 12 14 11
New Jersey 64 59 50 41 34 31 25 19 16 16 15
New Mexico 10 9 9 8 8 7 6 6 6 8 5
New York 137 127 121 107 93 79 67 57 48 46 37
North Carolina 17 18 19 21 21 21 20 16 13 14 12
North Dakota 5 4 4 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 0
Ohio 87 89 84 70 64 56 46 38 36 34 27
Oklahoma 31 30 29 29 23 21 13 12 9 10 10
Oregon 43 43 38 36 35 29 29 27 25 24 21
Pennsylvania 62 60 57 52 49 42 37 33 29 25 23
Rhode Island 6 5 5 5 5 3 3 3 2 2 2
South Carolina 7 7 7 9 8 8 8 7 7 7 7
South Dakota 8 7 6 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Tennessee 7 8 8 8 7 7 7 7 6 5 5
Texas 74 69 71 66 64 62 53 49 46 44 37
Utah 5 5 5 4 4 3 3 3 4 4 4
Vermont 7 7 8 8 7 6 6 6 4 4 4
Virginia 18 21 22 25 25 25 23 23 25 21 19
Washington 62 63 62 60 55 49 42 42 38 35 34
West Virginia 8 8 8 8 8 6 5 5 4 4 3
Wisconsin 48 48 46 44 40 35 29 25 23 23 22
Wyoming 5 5 5 4 4 4 2 2 1 3 1
District of Columbia 7 7 7 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 5

This article was revised on March 13, 2016.