Southern Baptists by far the largest religious group in Georgia, census shows

US Religion Census counts 1,584,393 Southern Baptists in Georgia


ATLANTA – Southern Baptists make up the largest religious group in Georgia with nearly 1.6 million members in communities across the state, according to the U.S. Religion Census.

Southern Baptists outnumber by far the second largest group, Catholics, by 1,584,393 to 898,162, according to the census conducted by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

The census counted 3,561 Southern Baptist congregations in Georgia. United Methodists, according to the census, had the second largest number of congregations with 1,388.

The census, which is done every 10 years and took nearly two years to complete, counted 1,693 non-denominational Christian churches in Georgia, showing growth among congregations that claim no denominational ties.

The Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies highlighted the Georgia numbers on social media earlier this month.

"For most of its history, Georgia has been a predominantly Baptist state," the organization said in a Facebook post. "Nevertheless, in recent years, other religious bodies have gained there."

That includes Muslims and Jehovah's Witnesses.  The census reported 123,652 Muslims and 119,302 Jehovah's Wtinesses in Georgia.

The U.S. Religion Census was originally conducted by the U.S. government in five special reports from 1890 through 1936. In 1952, the National Council of Churches organized its own religion census, which was repeated in 1971 and 1980 with strong support from the Glenmary Research Center.

Since 1990, the census has been conducted by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.

United Methodists fell from Georgia’s second-largest religious body in 2010 to the fourth largest in 2020, according to the census.

The census also reported that Atlanta, the state’s largest city, has roughly the same number of Southern Baptists and Catholics.

The census reported 652,227 Southern Baptists and 653,926 Catholics in the Atlanta metro area.