USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Southern California is one of the most diverse regions in the United States. Immigrants from almost every country in the world bring their cultural traditions with them. From strip-mall mosques to megachurches, the religious communities of Greater Los Angeles are strikingly vibrant and varied. Yet, California also leads the trend away from religion. By population, the state has the largest number of religious “nones,” those unaffiliated with a religious institution, in the United States.

Religion in Southern California is about more than prayer and ritual in churches, temples and masjids. CRCC’s research on religion in Los Angeles traces it roots back the faith-based response to the L.A. riots. Religious groups here have long been active in civic and political movements—for both conservative and progressive causes. The region provides ample opportunities to understand how race, religion, politics and culture interact with each other. Many of our findings provide useful comparisons for other regions in the United States and across the globe.

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“All of these movements and organizations flourish side-by-side in a degree of harmony that is rare or even unheard-of in other parts of the world. The occasional crisis, like the 1992 civil unrest, has prompted diverse groups to extend the olive branch and build bridges, even when these relationships are challenging.”

—Brie Loskota
“Mile of Mircles: A Microcosm of LA’s Religious Diversity”