New data published by the Pew Research Center reveals that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the most racially-diverse religious group in the United States. The data from the 2014 Religious Landscape Study compares twenty-eight groups—twenty-two Christian denominations (including Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Orthodox Christians), Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, the Nones (“Nothing in Particular”), Agnostics and Atheists. The data excludes the Baha’i and Sikh faith groups.
Each group was assigned a Herfindahl-Hirschman index diversity score, 10 being the highest score (indicating greatest diversity), and 0 being the lowest. Adventists scored 9.1, just ahead of Muslims at 8.7.
The racial mix within Adventism broke down thus: 37% White, 31% Black, 8% Asian, 8% Mix/Other, and 15% Latino, which includes individuals of many racial backgrounds.
The Adventist Church received a higher diversity score than the general adult population in the United States, which registered a 6.6 on the diversity index.
Earlier this year, U.S. News ranked Andrews University, home to the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, the second most ethnically diverse national university in the United States. Andrews came in just behind Rutgers University, and just ahead of Stanford, St. Johns, and the University of Houston.
The Worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church now claims a membership of over 18.5 million people in 216 countries and U.N. recognized territories, with its highest membership population concentrated in the Global South. The Adventist Church's strong global presence has a clear impact on the composition of the Church in the United States.
Infographics courtesy Pew Research Center.
Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.