Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion that values freedom, reason, and tolerance. It is a non-creedal religion, which means that there are no strict beliefs or dogmas that members must adhere to. Instead, Unitarian Universalists are encouraged to develop their own beliefs and values, while respecting the beliefs of others.
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is the central organization for Unitarian Universalist congregations in the United States, and it provides resources and support to these congregations. In this post, we will explore the question of how many Unitarian Universalists there are and provide a guide to the UUA.
Number of Unitarian Universalists
It is difficult to determine the exact number of Unitarian Universalists because the religion does not require formal membership. According to the UUA, there are over 1,000 Unitarian Universalist congregations in the United States, and approximately 200,000 people attend these congregations. However, not all attendees consider themselves Unitarian Universalists. The UUA estimates that there are between 500,000 and 800,000 self-identified Unitarian Universalists in the United States. This number includes those who attend congregations, as well as those who consider themselves Unitarian Universalists but do not attend a congregation.
It is worth noting that Unitarian Universalism is not limited to the United States. There are Unitarian Universalist congregations in Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, and other countries around the world. The UUA is a member of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, which is a global organization that represents Unitarian Universalism and other liberal religious movements. The exact number of Unitarian Universalists worldwide is not known, but it is estimated to be in the tens of thousands.
History of Unitarian Universalism
The origins of Unitarian Universalism can be traced back to the 16th century Protestant Reformation, which challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Unitarianism emerged as a distinct theological position in the late 18th century, when it rejected the traditional Christian doctrine of the Trinity and instead affirmed the unity of God. Universalism emerged in the same period as a belief that all souls would be saved and not condemned to eternal damnation. The two movements merged in the 1960s to become Unitarian Universalism.
The UUA was formed in 1961 to provide support and resources to Unitarian Universalist congregations in the United States. Today, the UUA supports a wide range of social justice initiatives, including the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ+ rights, and climate justice. The UUA also provides religious education programs, supports interfaith initiatives, and promotes community engagement. Unitarian Universalism continues to evolve and grow, and it remains a vibrant and diverse religious tradition that values the inherent worth and dignity of all people.
Diversity within the UUA
The Unitarian Universalist Association values diversity and strives to create an inclusive community for all. This is reflected in the demographics of its members, who come from a variety of backgrounds, races, and ethnicities. According to the UUA, the majority of its members identify as White (80.6%), with the second largest racial group being people of color (19.4%). Additionally, the UUA reports that approximately 3% of its members identify as LGBTQ+.
The UUA also places a strong emphasis on promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding, with many congregations participating in interfaith events and working closely with other faith communities. This commitment to diversity and inclusivity is a key aspect of Unitarian Universalist identity and sets it apart from many other religious denominations.
Growth and Trends in the UUA
While the UUA has seen some decline in membership in recent years, it has also experienced growth in certain areas. For example, the UUA reports an increase in young adult membership (ages 18-35) over the past decade. Additionally, the UUA has seen growth in its “emerging congregations,” which are new communities that are working to establish themselves as Unitarian Universalist congregations.
Despite these positive trends, the UUA still faces challenges in terms of membership and engagement. Like many religious organizations, the UUA is grappling with issues of generational change and attracting younger members. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented new obstacles to congregational life and engagement.
Overall, however, the UUA remains committed to its mission of promoting justice, equity, and compassion, and providing a welcoming community for all who seek it. Its commitment to diversity and inclusivity, interfaith dialogue, and social justice work sets it apart from many other religious organizations and continues to attract new members to its community.
Unitarian Universalism is a relatively small religious movement, but it is growing in popularity and influence. According to data from the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), there were approximately 204,000 Unitarian Universalist adherents in the United States as of 2020. This number has been steadily increasing over the past several decades, indicating that the movement is gaining traction among those seeking a more liberal and progressive spiritual community.
One of the key characteristics of Unitarian Universalism is its diversity. The UUA welcomes individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and beliefs, including agnostics, atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, and many others. This inclusivity is reflected in the UUA’s membership demographics, which show a diverse mix of ages, races, and ethnicities.
The following table provides a breakdown of Unitarian Universalist membership demographics based on data from the UUA’s 2020 Annual Report:
Table 1: Unitarian Universalist 2020 Annual Report
|Age Range||Percentage of Membership|
As the table shows, Unitarian Universalists are generally spread across a wide range of ages, with a higher percentage of members falling in the middle age ranges (35-64). This is consistent with the UUA’s commitment to being an intergenerational community that welcomes individuals at all stages of life.
Another interesting demographic trend within the UUA is the increasing diversity of its membership in terms of race and ethnicity. According to data from the UUA’s 2020 Annual Report, approximately 20% of UUA members identify as people of color, and this number has been steadily increasing over the past several years.
The following table provides a breakdown of Unitarian Universalist membership demographics based on race and ethnicity:
Table 2: Demographics Based on Race and Ethnicity
|Race/Ethnicity||Percentage of Membership|
|People of Color||20%|
This increasing diversity is a reflection of the UUA’s ongoing commitment to creating a welcoming and inclusive spiritual community for all individuals, regardless of their background or beliefs.
Table 3: Unitarian Universalist Membership Statistics (2019)
|Total RE Enrollment||38,100|
Table 4: Demographic Data on Unitarian Universalists (2014)
|Gender – Female||60%|
|Gender – Male||38%|
|Gender – Non-binary||2%|
|Race/Ethnicity – White||85%|
|Race/Ethnicity – POC||15%|
|Age – Under 30||12%|
|Age – 30-49||38%|
|Age – 50-64||32%|
|Age – 65+||18%|
These tables provide valuable insights into the demographics of the Unitarian Universalist community. The first table shows that there are over 200,000 members and 1,021 congregations in the UUA. It also provides information on the number of friends, average congregation size, and religious educators. This data can help us understand the size and scope of the UUA, as well as the resources available to its members.
The second table provides demographic data on UUA members from a 2014 survey. It shows that the majority of UUs are female and white, with 15% identifying as people of color. It also breaks down age demographics, with 12% of UUs under 30 and 18% over 65. This data can help us understand the makeup of the UUA community and identify areas where there may be underrepresentation or opportunity for growth.
Overall, while Unitarian Universalism may be a small religious movement, it is growing in popularity and influence. Its commitment to inclusivity, diversity, and social justice resonates with many individuals seeking a more progressive and liberal spiritual community. As such, the UUA’s membership demographics reflect a wide range of ages, races, and ethnicities, highlighting the movement’s commitment to being a truly intergenerational and inclusive community.
In conclusion, the Unitarian Universalist Association is a unique and diverse religious denomination with a rich history and a commitment to promoting justice, equity, and compassion. While it may not have as large of a membership as some other religious organizations, the UUA remains a vibrant and active community with a strong sense of purpose and identity. Its focus on inclusivity and interfaith dialogue, as well as its emphasis on social justice work, sets it apart from many other religious denominations and makes it an important voice in the broader religious landscape. As the UUA continues to evolve and adapt to changing societal trends and challenges, it will undoubtedly continue to play an important role in shaping the future of religion in America and beyond.