Immigration as a Factor of Growth for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America

Bacon, Rachel
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University of Delaware
Despite the marked decline in membership for most Protestant denominations in the United States, the Seventh-day Adventist Church continues to report growth at rates higher than its peers. Previous case studies and surveys have found that immigrants make up an increasing percentage of the American Adventist churches’ membership. However, no extensive statistical analysis has been conducted to investigate how changing patterns of immigration into the United States have influenced the Church’s growth or how the Adventist Church’s extensive international activity may be affecting its growth in the U.S. over a long stretch of time. For my research, I used linear fixed effects regression on an integrated data set of census immigration statistics and Adventist membership statistics between the years of 1900 and 2010. The number of Adventist members, churches, schools, and hospitals, served as the indicators for a strong or weak Adventist presence. The results suggest that the Adventist Church has a higher membership growth rate in areas of the U.S. that receive more immigrants from countries with a strong Adventist presence. As Protestant denominations face decline, they may benefit from a strong international presence to stabilize their growth through immigration, rather than relying solely on domestic evangelism.