The U.S. Religion Census was originally conducted by the U.S. government in five special reports from 1890 through 1936. In 1952, the National Council of Churches organized its own religion census, which was repeated in 1971 and 1980 with strong support from Glenmary Research Center.
Since 1990, this decadal census has been conducted by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. Coverage now includes many non-Christian groups as well as special counts for religious traditions that do not have central data collection points, such as non-denominational churches or Muslim and Jewish communities.