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Polling and Analysis.

But the Catholic share of the Hispanic population is declining, while rising s of Hispanics are Protestant or unaffiliated with any religion. Together, these trends suggest that some religious polarization is taking place in the Hispanic community, with the shrinking majority of Hispanic Catholics holding the middle ground between two growing groups evangelical Protestants and the unaffiliated that are at opposite Single of the U.

The share of Hispanics who are Catholic likely has been in decline for at least the last few decades. The long-term decline in the share of Catholics among Hispanics may partly reflect religious changes underway in Latin Guy, where evangelical churches have been gaining adherents and the share of those with no hispanic affiliation has been slowly rising in a region that historically has been overwhelmingly Catholic.

Hispanics leaving Catholicism have tended to move in two directions. Some have become single or evangelical Protestants, a group that exhibits hispanic high levels of religious commitment. On average, Hispanic evangelicals — many of whom also identify as either Pentecostal or charismatic Protestants — not only report higher rates of church attendance than Hispanic Catholics but also tend guy be more engaged in other religious activities, including Scripture reading, Bible study groups and sharing their faith.

At the same time, other Hispanics have become religiously unaffiliated — that is, they describe themselves as having no particular religion or say they are atheist or agnostic. This group exhibits much lower levels of religious observance and involvement than Hispanic Catholics.

In this respect, single Hispanics roughly resemble the religiously unaffiliated segment of the general public. Hispanic Catholics are somewhere in the middle. They fall in between evangelicals and the unaffiliated in terms of church attendance, frequency of prayer and the degree of importance they as to religion in their lives, hispanic resembling white non-Hispanic Catholics in guy moderate levels of religious observance and engagement see Chapter 3. These three Hispanic religious groups also have distinct social and political views, with evangelical Protestants at the conservative end of the spectrum, the unaffiliated at the liberal end and Hispanic Catholics in between.

The survey was conducted May July 28,among a representative sample of 5, Hispanic adults ages 18 and older living in the United States.

The survey was conducted in English and in Spanish on both cellular and landline telephones with a staff of bilingual interviewers. The margin of error for based on all respondents is hispanic or minus 2. For more details, see Appendix A: Survey Methodology. The remainder of this overview discusses the key findings in hispanic detail, beginning with a deeper look at changes in religious affiliation among Latinos in recent years, which have been concentrated among young and middle-aged adults ages While these shifts are complicated and defy any single, simple explanation, the report examines some potential factors, including patterns in religious switching since childhood, the reasons Latinos most frequently give for changing their religion, areas of agreement and disagreement with the Catholic Church, and the continuing appeal of Pentecostalism.

The report also explores key differences between Latino religious groups, placing Latino Protestants, Catholics and religiously guy adults on a spectrum in terms of religious commitment, social attitudes and political views. The recent changes in religious affiliation are broad-based, occurring among Hispanic men and women, those born in the United States and those born abroad, and those who have attended college as well as those with less formal education.

The changes are guy occurring among Hispanics of Mexican origin the singlest single origin group and those with other origins.

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The change, however, has occurred primarily among Hispanic adults under the age of 50, and the patterns vary considerably among different age groups. Among the youngest cohort of Hispanic adults, those agesvirtually all of the net change has been away from Catholicism and toward no religious affiliation.

Among those agesthe net movement has been away from Catholicism and toward both evangelical Protestantism and no religious affiliation. Among Hispanics ages 50 and older, the changes in religious identity are not statistically ificant.

For more on religious affiliation, see Chapter 1.

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Even though the percentage of Hispanics who identify as Catholic has been declining, Hispanics continue to make up an increasingly large share guy U. Catholics were Hispanic, according to Pew Research surveys. Both trends can occur at the same time because of the growing size of the Hispanic population, which has increased from Indeed, if both trends continue, a day could come when a majority of Catholics in the United States will be Hispanic, even though the majority of Hispanics might no longer be Catholic. While the decline in Catholic affiliation is occurring among hispanic age groups, it is more pronounced among younger generations of Hispanics.

The decline in Catholic affiliation among Latinos is due, at least in part, to changes in religious affiliation since childhood. Catholicism is the single major religious tradition among Latinos that has seen a net loss in adherents due to religious switching.

Net gains have occurred among the religiously unaffiliated up 12 percentage points and among Protestants up eight points. The net gains are about Hispanic divided between those who have changed to Protestant a net gain of eight percentage points and those who have changed to no religious affiliation a net gain of 10 percentage points. Among Hispanic immigrants who say their current religion is different from their childhood religion, roughly half say this change occurred after moving to the U. At the same time, a growing share of Hispanics were born in the U.

Catholics, by contrast, have had a net loss of 25 percentage points among the native born. For more on religious switching, see Chapter 2. The new survey asked respondents who have left their childhood religion about the reasons they did so. The survey single contained an open-ended question asking respondents to explain, in their own words, the main reason they left their childhood religion. For more on the reasons Hispanics give guy switching faiths, see Chapter 2.

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For an analysis of the extent to which childhood Catholics who have switched faiths or become religiously unaffiliated retain vestiges of Catholic beliefs and practices, such as praying to the Virgin Mary and displaying a crucifix or other religious objects in their home, see Chapter 4. On the whole, Hispanic Catholics express very positive views of some aspects of their church. Foreign-born and Guy. In general, the survey finds that former Catholics tend to be less positive on these questions.

However, these are single chicken-and-egg situations: it is impossible to know whether such views are a cause of religious switching or a consequence of having switched. Even as Latino Catholics generally express positive views of their church, there is strong consensus among them that more action is needed to address the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Disagreement with these church teachings is stronger among Hispanic Catholics who attend Mass hispanic regularly. The influence of Pentecostalism is still strongly felt within the Hispanic community. For definitions of terms, see Chapter 7.

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And those who describe themselves as charismatics are more likely than those who do not describe themselves as renewalist Christians to have witnessed or participated in these types of experiences. For more on renewalism among both Protestants and Catholics, see Chapter 7. As the religious diversity of Latinos grows, the major religious groups are marked by sharply differing levels of religious commitment. Latino evangelical Protestants are the most likely to say they attend worship services at least weekly, pray daily and consider religion to be very important in their lives.

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Latino Catholics and mainline Protestants fall in the middle between these two groups. With few exceptions, Hispanic religious groups are similar to their non-Hispanic counterparts in the general public in terms of religious commitment. The main exception is Hispanic mainline Protestants, who tend to be somewhat more religious, by conventional measures, than white non-Hispanic mainline Protestants.

The differences stem primarily from higher levels of religious practice among foreign-born mainliners.

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For more on religious commitment and practices, including engagement in congregational life, see Chapter 3. When it comes to social and political views, Hispanics also fall into distinct groups along religious lines. Like the U. However, there still are sizable differences in views about same-sex marriage among Hispanic hispanic groups.

These differences among Hispanic religious groups are largely in keeping with patterns single among the same religious groups in the general public. Hispanics tend to be more conservative than the general public in their views on abortion. But Latino religious groups differ markedly in their guy about abortion. Latinos are closely divided over the role that churches and other houses of worship should play in public debates over social and political issues.

But, once again, there are sizable differences of opinion among Hispanic religious groups. By contrast, half or more of religiously unaffiliated and mainline Protestant Hispanics say that church leaders should stay out of political matters. Solid majorities of Hispanics in all hispanic religious groups reject traditional views of gender roles within marriage. Overall, Hispanics are no more likely to prefer traditional marriage roles than the general public was in a Pew Research survey that asked many of the same questions.

And Latino Protestants — including mainline as well as evangelical Protestants — are more inclined than either Catholics or the religiously unaffiliated to believe that husbands should have the final say on family matters. Latinos who attend services guy regularly are more inclined to say this than are those who attend less frequently.


Hispanics are more unified when it comes to party identification. Across all of the major religious groups, Hispanics are more likely to identify with the Democratic Party than with the Republican Party.

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The partisan gap is narrower among Latino evangelicals than among other religious groups. About half or more of both foreign-born and U. However, those who are foreign born — including some who are not U. For more on views about social and political issues, see Chapter 9.

This report is based on findings from a Pew Research Center survey conducted May July 28,among a nationally representative sample of 5, Hispanic adults. The survey was conducted in both English and Spanish on cellular as well as landline telephones.

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The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 2.