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Religious Affiliation of U.S. Presidents
|Ratio % of Pres.|
to % of Pop.
|Disciples of Christ
United Church of Christ
Keep in mind that in the table above, the % of the U.S. population for
religious groups are current figures. Religious groups have had much
different proportions at various time in U.S. history.
One of the most over-represented religious groups among U.S. presidents is
Unitarianism. Despite merging with Universalism in the 1960s, the combined
proportion of Unitarian Universalists in the U.S. population is just 0.2% of the
population (one in every 500 Americans). Yet there have been 4 Unitarian
Another over-represented religious group among U.S. presidents is Dutch
Reformed, by virtue of having two U.S. presidents, yet having only a small
number of people left in the country who identify themselves as Reformed. The
contemporary heir to the Dutch Reformed churches is the "Reformed Church in
America," which has about 300,000 members in the U.S. and Canada.
(Alternatively, one might count only a single president as Dutch Reformed, if
Theodore Roosevelt is counted as an Episcopalian -- sources differ on this subject. Even just one Dutch
Reformed president would constitute statistical over-representation.)
After that, Disciples of Christ, Episcopalians, and Quakers have also had
representation in the White House far outstripping their proportion of the U.S.
On the other end of the scale, the most under-represented religious group is
Catholicism, which has had only one U.S. president (John F. Kennedy), despite
making up 26% of the current U.S. population. Also under-represented are
Baptists, whose proportion of the U.S. population (18%) is twice their
proportion of U.S. presidents (9.5%).
Major religious groups in the U.S. which have never had a U.S. president
include: Lutherans (about 5% of the U.S. population); Jews (about 2% of the U.S.
population); Latter-day Saints (2%); Pentecostals (about 1.8 %); Muslims
(approx. 1 to 1.5%); Eastern Orthodox (approx. 1%); and Churches of Christ (1%).
||Presidents who were Adherents |
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
George H. W. Bush
James Knox Polk
Ulysses S Grant *
||James Knox Polk *|
Ulysses S Grant *
George W. Bush
||Warren G. Harding|
Harry S. Truman
John Quincy Adams
|Disciples of Christ/
|James A. Garfield|
Lyndon Baines Johnson
|no specific denomination
||Martin Van Buren|
Richard M. Nixon
||John F. Kennedy|
Major Sources: Kane,
Joseph Nathan. Facts About the Presidents (Fourth Edition). New York: The
H. W. Wilson Co. (1981), pg. 360; DeGregorio, William A. The Complete Book of
U.S. Presidents (Second Edition). New York: Dembner Books (1989)
Web page created 20 July 1999. Last modified 11 August 2005.