Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1937-) Studied architecture at Ohio State University, where he received the Bachelor of Architecture degree summa cum laude in June 1960. During 1961, he was an exchange student at the University of Bonn, Germany, and in September he enrolled at Harvard Divinity school with a Rockefeller Trial Year Fellowship. During seminary, he studied with Talcott Parsons, Robert Bellah, and James Luther Adams, which turned his interests toward social ethics and sociology of religion. After finishing a divinity baccalaureate in 1964, he entered doctoral study in sociology, completing it in 1970. His dissertation examined trends in college students' attitudes and behaviors and later appeared as Commitment on Campus (Westminster 1974). Hoge served as Assistant Professor of Christianity and Society at Princeton Theological Seminary from 1969 to 1974. He then joined the faculty of the Catholic University of America, where he remains Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department. At Catholic University, he also serves as a member of the Life Cycle Institute, a social science research center. President, Religious Research Association, 1980, he also has given the Douglass distinguished lecture of the RRA.

During his tenure at Princeton Theological Seminary, Hoge began the research that was later to be published as Division in the Protestant House (Westminster 1976). He then joined with Jackson Carroll and David A. Roozen in a broad study of Protestant church trends, published as Understanding Church Growth and Decline (Pilgrim 1979).

Hoge's position at Catholic University was as a sociologist of youth, and he published several studies in this area (e.g., Hoge et al. 1979). In 1979, he conducted research for the American Catholic Bishops' Committee on Evangelization. This research investigated the determinants of Catholic affiliation and was published as Converts, Dropouts, Returnees: A Study of Religious Change Among Catholics (with Kenneth McGuire, Bernard F. Stratman, and Alvin A. Illig, Pilgrim 1981). His attention then turned to the Catholic priest shortage: The Future of Catholic Leadership (Sheed & Ward 1987, awarded "Best Professional Book" by the Catholic Press Association) and Patterns of Parish Leadership (with Joseph Shields and Francis Sheets, Sheed & Ward 1988). He also examined the attitudes of seminarians and young priests in Seminary Life and Visions of the Priesthood (with Eugene Hemrick, National Catholic Educational Association 1987) and A Survey of Priests Ordained Five to Nine Years (NCEA 1991).

Turning his attention back to the Protestant tradition, he collaborated on an interview study of Protestant "baby boomers" titled Vanishing Boundaries (Westminster, with Benton Johnson and Donald Luidens), which received the 1994 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

His most recent research has involved heading an extensive survey of church-related giving, examining giving patterns among Catholics and four Protestant denominations, Money Matters (with Charles Zech, Patrick McNamara, and Michael Donahue, Westminster 1996; see Hoge 1994). Thus his research career has been marked with a singular emphasis and a singular productivity in practical and applied issues in the sociology of religion.

Michael J. Donahue


D. R. Hoge (ed.), "Patterns of Financial Contributions to Churches," Review of Religious Research 36(1994):101-244

D. R. Hoge et al., "Youth and the Church," Religious Education 74(1979):305-313.

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