The Census of the United States provides individuals with a scope of the population. By looking in the community where your religious community is located, you can have a better idea of how your community matches the racial, age, language and household status of the community.
Look around on the census website to see what sort of resources you can find. If you click “QuickFacts” on the left side, for example, you can take a look at some general statistics from your state or local community. Let’s examine Austin Texas.
Examine these statistics for what sorts of better understanding you have of the community surrounding your congregation. If you were to start a church in the center of Austin, looking at the Latino or Hispanic community, along with individuals who are older than 18 but under 65 would be a target population. Alternatively, you can use these data to compare the demographics of your congregation with that of the broader community, allowing you to better understand the ecology surrounding your congregation.
Some denominations pay for statistical data more closely linked to a particular neighborhood. If you live in a city, you may be interested in examining only a five mile radius around your congregation.