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Demographic Research and Information

Ministry Area Profiles: Demographics

Three key questions regarding the purpose of a congregation are:

  • Who are we?
  • What are we called to do?
  • Who is our neighbor?

The focus of the Ministry Area Profile is on answering the question, "Who is our neighbor?" or "Who lives and works near our church?"

In answering the question of who is our neighbor, a demographic study can also help to answer the question, "What are we called to do?"

When a congregation organizes its programs by considering who will come and what they need, powerful life-changing ministries can emerge.

Many of our congregations use demographic information to help them successfully plan their congregation's growth and outreach efforts.

Percept Group

Percept is recommended by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) for a faith based demographic analysis. The study is known as the Ministry Area Profile. These profiles are now all digital and results are received instantly. We encourage you to check with your District or Regional Staff when you are ready to do a study. They can provide assistance with profile selection criteria as well as results analysis.

NOTE: With the advent of Percept's all digital format, the UUA discount program ended as of December 31, 2012. The current online pricing is approximately the same as the former discount program.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I choose my Ministry Area?

  1. ZIP CODES: a simple way to define your study area. You may use up to 16 zip codes in one profile.
  2. RADIUS: use either a street address or cross streets to determine the center of the radius.

    RULE OF THUMB: In a densely populated urban area, a radius between 1 and 3 miles should be more than adequate; whereas, a 5-mile radius in a suburban area and a 10-mile radius in a rural area are standard.

    The only problem with a RADIUS BOUNDARY occurs when a river, ocean, mountain, or even a major highway, creates a known barrier for people coming to your church. In these cases, the radius boundary may not be the best choice. You may want to consider an optional boundary, such as ZIP Codes, or a hand drawn boundary (see Polygon).

  3. POLYGON: If you have a pre-defined ministry area such as a parish boundary or the area you want to study isn't well defined by either a Radius or a ZIP Code boundary, you may want to use a Polygon boundary, which is a lot simpler than it sounds. A polygon is a closed boundary with as many line sections as you wish. With our interactive map tool all you do is make successive clicks with your mouse on the screen map, and make sure your last click is on top of your first click. This will close your polygon.


What are InfoMaps and how do I chose?

InfoMaps can show many different types of demographic information.

You will receive six graphic representations of the data in the six maps you select.  You may select additional data maps for an additional cost per map.

Examples of standard demographic information are:

  • Percent of population of children (age 0 -17)
  • 5 year projected population group percentage
  • Percent of Young Adults (age 18 - 29)
  • Percent of Rising Adults (age 30 – 49)
  • Those not Involved in their faith
  • Average Household Income 

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