Religion makes more money in the US than Apple, Facebook, Google combined

By : |September 16, 2016 0

Religion makes money. We Indians know that very well courtesy Tirupati shrine, Sai Baba temple, Vaishno Devi temple etc. However, Indians are not the only one who mint money with religion. Even in the US, religion is a big business, so big that it is more than Facebook, Google, and Apple – combined.

A new study by a father-daughter researcher team says that the annual revenues of faith-based enterprises that include not just churches but hospitals, schools, charities and even gospel musicians and halal food makers are more than US$378 billion a year.

Interestingly, the figure doesn’t take into account the annual shopping bonanza motivated by Christmas.

The detailed analysis of how religion contributes to the US economy by Washington DC-based Georgetown University’s Brian Grim and the Newseum’s Melissa Grim reveals that faith-based health-care systems are the biggest contributor to this religion economy.

Churches and congregation are of course the face of all this. According to prior censuses of U.S. bodies of worship, the Grims looked at 344,894 congregations, from 236 different religious denominations. Collectively, those congregations count about half the American population as members. The average annual income for a congregation, coming obviously from members’ donations and dues, the study said, is $242,910.

Then there are religious charities. The largest faith-based charity, according to the study, is Lutheran Services of America, with annual operating revenue of about $21 billion.

Faith-based educational institutes drive in big bucks as well. Nearly 2 million students pay more than $46.7 billion in tuition annually in such colleges and university which includes Muslims also, the study said.

The study suggested all sorts of other ways one could count the contribution of religion to the U.S. economy — the revenues of faith-linked businesses such as Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A, the box office profits of religious blockbuster movies such as “Heaven Is for Real,” even the household income of millions of Americans who run their financial lives guided by their faiths.

The research article which proves religion to be a lucrative business in the US was published in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion.

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