New Report Details Brazil’s Changing Religious Landscape
Roman Catholics in Decline, Protestants on the Rise
WASHINGTON, July 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As young Catholics begin to gather in Brazil, awaiting the arrival of Pope Francis in celebration of World Youth Day, a new Pew Research Center analysis finds that the share of Brazil’s overall population that is Catholic has been dropping steadily in recent decades. Over the same period, the percentage of Brazilians who belong to Protestant churches has been rising, as has the share of Brazilians who identify with other religions or with no religion.
With an estimated 123 million Roman Catholics, Brazil has the largest Catholic population in the world. Between 1970 and 2000, the share of the population that identifies as Catholic fell even though the number of Catholics in the country rose. But from 2000 to 2010 both the absolute number and the percentage of Brazilian Catholics declined, from 125 million (74% of the country’s total population) to 123 million (65%).
Conversely, the number of Brazilian Protestants continued to grow from 2000 to 2010, rising from 26 million (15%) to 42 million (22%), with a particularly notable rise among Pentecostals.
The number of Brazilians belonging to other religions grew from about 2 million in 1970 to 10 million in 2010 (5% of the population). Similarly, there were fewer than 1 million Brazilians with no religious affiliation in 1970, and the group grew to 15 million in 2010 (8% of the population).
These are among the key findings of a report by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life analyzing Brazil’s changing religious landscape, based on census data. It is part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project, an effort funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation.
The full analysis, including an examination of the religious breakdown of Brazilians by age, gender, education and urban versus rural, is available on the Pew Forum’s website, along with other resources on the global Catholic population.
The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life conducts surveys, demographic analyses and other social science research on important aspects of religion and public life in the U.S. and around the world. As part of the Washington-based Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan, non-advocacy organization, the Pew Forum does not take positions on policy debates or any of the issues it covers.
SOURCE Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life