Resources, Races, and Female-Headed Congregations in the United States



This paper uses the 1998 National Congregations Study (NCS) to investigate the demographic and organizational characteristics of female-headed congregations in the United States. Our findings significantly extend knowledge about the demographic characteristics of these congregations. Counterintuitively, female-led congregations are more likely to be found inurban areas than in other locations, and they are more prevalent among African American congregations—particularly those with no denominational ties—and among ethnically mixed congregations. Our findings also confirm previous research on women clergy which indicates that, compared with congregations led by men, there is a paucity of organizational resources in female-headed congregations.