RELIGION OF CALIFORNIA

Religion

The largest Christian denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman Catholic Church with 10,079,310; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 529,575; and the Southern Baptist Convention with 471,119. Jewish congregations had 994,000 adherents. The state has the most Roman Catholics of any state and a large Protestant population, a large American Jewish community, and an American Muslim population. With a Jewish population estimated at more than 550,000, Los Angeles has the second-largest Jewish community in North America.

There are about 1 million Muslims, which has the largest population than any other state, mainly of African American descent and immigrant populations. According to figures, approximately 100,000 Muslims reside in San Diego.

Santa Barbara Church

As the twentieth century came to a close, forty percent of all Buddhists in America resided in Southern California. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Area has become unique in the Buddhist world as the only place where representative organizations of every major school of Buddhism can be found in a single urban center.[37] The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Northern California and Hsi Lai Temple in Southern California are two of the largest Buddhist temples in the Western Hemisphere. California also has a growing Hindu population.

California has more members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Temples than any state except Utah. Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have played important roles in the settlement of California throughout the state's history. For example, a group of a few hundred Mormon converts from the Northeastern United States and Europe arrived at what would become San Francisco in the 1840s aboard the ship Brooklyn, more than doubling the population of the small town. Before being called back to Utah by Brigham Young these settlers helped build up the city of Yerba Buena. A group of Mormons also established the city of San Bernardino in Southern California in 1851. According to the LDS Church 2007 statistics, just over 750,000 Mormons reside in the state of California, attending almost 1400 congregations statewide.

However, a Pew Research Center survey revealed that California is somewhat less religious than the rest of the US: 62 percent of Californians say they are "absolutely certain" of the belief in God, while in the nation 71 percent say so. The survey also revealed 48 percent of Californians say religion is "very important," while the figure for the United States is 56 percent.

Luciano Mende

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