Methodology for the Pluralism Project Directory Data

The Pluralism Project spent several years developing a directory of religious centers across the United States.  We are no longer currently adding to that directory, but the below information explains our methodology during the time when we created and maintained the directory.

The Pluralism Project has been researching immigrant religious traditions in the United States for over two decades. We work with research affiliates and interns across the U.S. who provide us with lists of centers based on their on-site field research. Keeping our directory “fresh” is a constant process of adding, changing, and deleting addresses. We appreciate the assistance we receive in these efforts from our advisors, alumni, and community partners who keep us abreast of changes in contact information, news updates, and notice of new religious centers opening in their neighborhoods. We invite you, too, to send us information, especially if you see that your center is not currently in our directory or if the information we have is out of date. You can tell us about it by connecting with us or e-mailing

Periodically we cross-check the data with other lists, make phone call verifications, send selected mailings to centers, check for duplicate records, and collaborate with information sources within the religious communities. Where possible, we have emailed the centers directly to ask them to provide us with updates as necessary.

We also verify and expand the data by consulting center lists available on the web. A list of these resources is available online. For the Buddhist tradition, center lists for various schools within the tradition have been helpful, as has the Dharma Directory published by Tricycle. The publishers of Hinduism Today have graciously shared their extensive list of Hindu centers, updated through repeated mailings. Our advisor Pravin Shah has provided us with updated information on Jain centers. Sikhnet lists Sikh gurdwaras, and for the Zoroastrian tradition, FEZANA lists associated member centers, as well as small groups. was also helpful in the early days of online directory searching. We allow centers to self-define, and a very small regular gathering of a few religious practitioners would qualify as a religious center. Our Directory of Religious Centers does not, as a rule, include listings for Christian centers with the exception of Greater Boston where this information is part of our World Religions in Greater Boston resource.

Throughout 2011-2013, the data was extensively revised in preparation for inclusion in the online edition of On Common Ground: World Religions in America, much like it had been in fall 2001 for the second edition of OCG. Ours is a work in progress, always subject to revision. We do our best to keep up with changes to provide accurate contact information for the interested public, but obviously cannot guarantee the accuracy of all information, which is constantly changing. Also we maintain a working compilation of estimates of statistics for the overall numbers of members in religious traditions in the U.S., which currently accompanies the essay “We the People” in On Common Ground: World Religions in America.

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