Nowadays, most pastors and church leaders understand the importance of knowing their ministry context to develop a mission strategy that engages neighbors in a meaningful way. Demographic data is a tool that helps to unlock the secrets of your congregation’s neighborhood and community.

Demographic data is a terrific supplemental resource in exegeting a community. However, it should take a back seat to get to know your neighbors. Endless information is waiting to be discovered. Remember the data needs to be examined and considered alongside other contributing factors you have learned about the community. Moreover, invite other voices to help interpret the data so that the congregation gains a fuller perspective of the community and its neighborhoods.

Online Resources

Association of Religious Data Archives

Known as ARDA, it is an easy-to-use site for demographic and psychographic data. After opening ARDA, go to “Congregational Resource Center” to find helpful categories such as “What does my community look like?” Once there, you can create a demographic report based on the church’s address. 

Association of Religion Data Archives Congregational Resource Center

Percept Group

Users can order three different demographic studies, from an area summary to an extensive search that includes a congregational survey as part of the report. Percept is a fee-based resource. It is the only demographic provider listed here that charges a fee. The three different reports are…

  1. FirstView ($85)
  2. MinistryArea Profile ($315)
  3. Context w/ ReVision ($795)

Percepts often discounts the price of its two upper tiers reports (#s 2 & 3) when ordered online.

U.S. Navigation Guide

The site is a quick and straightforward tool to map the boundaries of zip code areas. The information is essential for a congregation researching their area.

City Data Guide

Find demographic data fast. Enter a specific zip code for data on population, housing, income levels, age range, cost of living, educational attainment, etc. website heading

This web resource is a valuable tool to learn about non-USA born populations in metro areas in the country. Navigate to Explore Map. Search by city or people group. Not all cities have accessible data. The website is a crowd-sourced initiative.

Christian Community Development Association

Free-to-member resources provided by CCDA, including their online institute modules. Church of the Brethren congregations and leaders who connect to CCDA also receive membership pricing on national and regional events, along with the ability to connect with the organization’s wider network. Contact Discipleship Ministries for free membership information and to sign up.

Christian Community Development Association

Other Useful Resources 

Contact the following to learn more about your community. Interview administration and staff. Learn how they interpret the demographic data of your community. 

  1. Schools – consistently update demographic information to plan services present and future 
  2. Municipal Zoning Offices 
  3. Hospitals 
  4. Fire Departments 
  5. Social service organizations 
  6. Chamber of Commerce