home page links quotes statistics mission statement success stories resources Lighter Side Authors! Search Page
Posted May 2, 2007

More Statistics on Hispanics in the Church
Taken from the Pew Report [Other parts of report have been posted prior to this report --- see Home Page]


Changing Faiths: Latinos and the
Transformation of American Religion



Executive Summary

Chapter 1: Religion and Demography

More than two-thirds of Hispanics (68%) identify themselves as Roman Catholics. The next largest category, at 15%, is made up of born-again or evangelical Protestants. Nearly one-in-ten (8%) Latinos do not identify with any religion. Differences in religious identification among Latinos coincide with important differences in demographic characteristics. For example, Catholics are a more heavily immigrant population than evangelicals.

Given current demographic trends, Latinos are projected to become an ever-increasing segment of the Catholic Church in the U.S.

Chapter 2: Religious Practices and Beliefs

For the great majority of Latinos, regardless of their religious tradition, God is an active force in everyday life. Most Latinos pray every day, most have a religious object in their home and most attend a religious service at least once a month. By significant majorities, Latinos who identify with a religion believe that miracles are performed today just as they were in ancient times. Amid this overall religiosity, important differences emerge among Latinos of different religious traditions and between Latinos and their non-Hispanic counterparts.

Chapter 3: The Renewalist Movement and Hispanic Christianity

Renewalist Christianity, which places special emphasis on Godís ongoing, day-to-day intervention in human affairs through the person of the Holy Spirit, is having a major impact on Hispanic Christianity. Among Latino Protestants, renewalism is more than twice as prevalent as among their non-Latino counterparts. A majority(54%) of Hispanic Catholics describe themselves as charismatic Christians, making them more than four times as likely as non-Latino Catholics to identify with renewalist Christianity. The implications of this are particularly important for the Catholic Church, given that the rapidly growing Latino flock is practicing a distinctive form of Catholicism.

Chapter 4: Conversion and Views of the Catholic Church

Nearly one-fifth (18%) of all Latinos say they have either converted from one religion to another or to no religion at all. Conversions are a key ingredient in the development of evangelicalism among Hispanics. Half of Hispanic evangelicals (51%) are converts, and more than four-fifths of them (43% of Hispanic evangelicals overall) are former Catholics. By an overwhelming majority (82%), Hispanics cite the desire for a more direct, personal experience with God as the main reason for adopting a new faith. Among those who have become evangelicals, nine-in-ten (90%)say it was this spiritual search that drove their conversion. A majority of evangelical converts (61%) say the typical Catholic mass is not lively or exciting, although only about one-in-three (36%) cite that as a reason for their conversion.

Chapter 5: The Ethnic Church

The houses of worship most frequented by Latinos have distinctly ethnic characteristics. A majority of those in the congregation are Hispanic; some Latinos serve as clergy; and liturgies are available in Spanish. The growth of the Hispanic population is leading to the emergence of Latino-oriented churches in all the major religious traditions across the country. While the prevalence of Hispanic-oriented worship is higher among the foreign born, with 77% saying they attend churches with those characteristics, the phenomenon is also widespread among the native born, with 48% saying they attend ethnic churches.

Chapter 6: Religion and Politics

Two-thirds of Hispanics say that their religious beliefs are an important influence on their political thinking. More than half say churches and other houses of worship should address the social and political questions of the day. By nearly a two-to-one margin, Latinos say that there has been too little expression of religious faith by political leaders rather than too much. Churchgoing Hispanics report that their clergy often address political matters, although the extent of that practice varies considerably by issue and by religious tradition.

Chapter 7: Ideology and Policy Issues

Religious affiliation and church attendance are strongly related to political ideology and views on a variety of social and public policy issues among Latinos. Even after controlling for language ability, nationality, generation and education, for instance, Latino evangelicals are still significantly more conservative than Catholics on social issues, foreign policy issues and even in their attitudes toward the plight of the poor. Catholics, in turn, are somewhat more conservative than seculars when it comes to gay marriage, government-guaranteed health care and increases in government services. Frequency of church attendance tends to be correlated with more conservative views on social issues after controlling for a variety of demographic factors.

Chapter 8: Party Identification and Ideology

Latino evangelicals are twice as likely as Latino Catholics to be Republicans. That is a far greater difference than exists among whites. Moreover, Hispanic conservatives who are Catholic favor the Democrats, while white conservatives consider themselves Republican regardless of religious tradition. The Democratic Party holds a nearly three-to-one advantage among Latino Catholics who are eligible to vote(48% vs. 17% for Republicans). Because the Latino electorate is overwhelmingly Catholic (63%), Catholics represent the core of Democratic support among Latinos. Indeed, 70% of all Latino eligible voters who identify as Democrats are Catholics. Party identification among Latino evangelicals is more narrowly divided and appears to slightly favor the Republican Party. Among Hispanic eligible voters who are evangelicals, 37%say they consider themselves Republicans and 32% say they are Democrats.