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Religious Affiliation of U.S. Presidents


Related pages:
- Religious Affiliation of U.S. Vice-Presidents
- Religious Affiliation of U.S Congress
- Religious Affiliation of U.S. Governors
- Religious Affiliation of U.S. Supreme Court
- Religious Affiliation of Canadian Prime Ministers
Denomination Number of
Presidents
Percent of
Presidents
Percent of
Current
U.S. Pop.
Ratio:
% of Pres.
to % of Pop.
Episcopalian 11 26.2% 1.7% 15.4
Presbyterian 10 23.8% 2.8% 5.1
Methodist 5 11.9% 8.0% 1.5
Baptist 4 9.5% 18.0% 0.5
Unitarian 4 9.5% 0.2% 47.5
Disciples of Christ 3 7.1% 0.4% 18.7
Dutch Reformed 2 4.8% 0.1% 48.0
Quaker 2 4.8% 0.7% 6.9
Congregationalist 2 2.4% 0.6% 4.0
Catholic 1 2.4% 24.5% 0.1
Jehovah's Witness 1 2.4% 0.6% 6.0
TOTAL 42 100% 57.0%  

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 presidents.

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. population.

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 25% 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. 0.5%); and Churches of Christ (1%).


Religion Presidents who were Adherents
Episcopalian George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
James Monroe
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
Zachary Taylor
Franklin Pierce
Chester A. Arthur
Theodore Roosevelt *
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Gerald Ford
George H. W. Bush
Presbyterian Andrew Jackson
James Knox Polk *
Ulysses S Grant *
Rutherford B. Hayes *
James Buchanan
Grover Cleveland
Benjamin Harrison
Woodrow Wilson
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Ronald Reagan
Methodist James Knox Polk *
Ulysses S Grant *
Rutherford B. Hayes *
William McKinley
George W. Bush
Baptist Warren G. Harding
Harry S. Truman
Jimmy Carter
William Jefferson Clinton
Unitarian John Adams
John Quincy Adams
Millard Fillmore
William Howard Taft
Disciples of Christ James A. Garfield
Lyndon B. Johnson
Ronald Reagan
no specific denomination Thomas Jefferson
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Dutch Reformed Martin Van Buren
Theodore Roosevelt *
Quaker Herbert Hoover
Richard M. Nixon
Congregationalist John Adams *
Calvin Coolidge
Catholic John F. Kennedy
Jehovah's Witnesses Dwight D. Eisenhower *
River Brethren Dwight D. Eisenhower *


# President Religion
1 George Washington Episcopalian
2 John Adams Congregationalist (raised); Unitarian
3 Thomas Jefferson raised Episcopalian; later no specific denomination
held Christian, Deist, Unitarian beliefs
4 James Madison Episcopalian (deist?)
5 James Monroe Episcopalian (deist?)
6 John Quincy Adams Unitarian
7 Andrew Jackson Presbyterian
8 Martin Van Buren Dutch Reformed
9 William Henry Harrison Episcopalian
10 John Tyler Episcopalian (deist)
11 James Knox Polk Presbyterian; Methodist
12 Zachary Taylor Episcopalian
13 Millard Fillmore Unitarian
14 Franklin Pierce Episcopalian
15 James Buchanan Presbyterian
16 Abraham Lincoln raised Baptist; later no specific denomination (deist)
17 Andrew Johnson Christian (no specific denomination)
18 Ulysses S Grant Presbyterian; Methodist
19 Rutherford B. Hayes Presbyterian; Methodist (?)
20 James A. Garfield Disciples of Christ
21 Chester A. Arthur Episcopalian
22 Grover Cleveland Presbyterian
23 Benjamin Harrison Presbyterian
24 Grover Cleveland Presbyterian
25 William McKinley Methodist
26 Theodore Roosevelt Dutch Reformed; Episcopalian
27 William Howard Taft Unitarian
28 Woodrow Wilson Presbyterian
29 Warren G. Harding Baptist
30 Calvin Coolidge Congregationalist
31 Herbert Hoover Quaker
32 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Episcopalian
33 Harry S. Truman Southern Baptist
34 Dwight D. Eisenhower River Brethren; Jehovah's Witnesses; Presbyterian
35 John F. Kennedy Catholic
36 Lyndon B. Johnson Disciples of Christ
37 Richard M. Nixon Quaker
38 Gerald Ford Episcopalian
39 Jimmy Carter Baptist (former Southern Baptist)
40 Ronald Reagan Disciples of Christ; Presbyterian
41 George H. W. Bush Episcopalian
42 William Jefferson Clinton Baptist
43 George W. Bush Methodist (former Episcopalian)


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)


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Web page created 20 July 1999. Last modified 7 July 2006.