The religious traditions with the largest number of advocacy groups in Washington are Catholicism (19%) and evangelical Protestantism (18%). These numbers come from a study of 212 religion-related advocacy groups operating in Washington, D.C. conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The proportion of groups representing Catholics and evangelical Protestants in the nation’s capitol is somewhat lower than the percentages of Catholics and evangelical Protestants in the U.S. adult population (23.9% and 26.3% respectively). By contrast, some smaller religious groups account for a disproportionately large number of religious advocacy organizations compared to their percentage of the U.S. population. For example, Muslim advocacy organizations in Washington make up 8% of the 212 groups studied even though Muslims make up just 0.8% of U.S. adults. In addition, Jewish advocacy organizations make up 12% of religious advocacy organizations despite accounting for just 1.7% of the population. This may reflect the importance these groups place on advocacy to protect their rights as religious minorities.

Interreligious groups (25%) are the largest of all categories of religion-related organizations lobbying in Washington). These groups combine the interests and viewpoints of multiple faiths and advocate on religion-related issues without representing a particular religious tradition or denomination.

You can search here for profiles of the 212 groups studied. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.