Washington, May 8 :
The majority of Hispanics in the US continue to practice Catholicism, but the number describing themselves as Protestants or unaffiliated is rising, says a study.
The Pew Research Center in Washington in a study said that the proportion of Hispanics who consider themselves to be Catholics fell 12 percent over the past four years, from 67 to 55 percent.
Pew’s 2013 National Survey of Latinos and Religion released Wednesday also found 24 percent of Hispanics identified themselves as former Catholics.
The study suggests that those trends show a religious polarisation among the Hispanic community, and the ever-smaller majority of Hispanic Catholics find themselves within two growing groups – evangelical Protestants and those with no religious affiliation – which are on the extreme opposites of the US religious spectrum.
On the one hand, Latinos are converting increasingly more from Catholicism to Protestantism, but at the same time many others are turning away from organised religion altogether.
Fifty-five percent of the country’s Hispanic population, or about 19.6 million people, identify themselves as Catholics, while 22 percent are Protestants and 18 percent are not members of any church.
The survey was conducted between May 24 and July 28, 2013, among a representative sample of 5,103 Hispanic adults across the US.
The polling was done both in English and Spanish over telephone by bilingual interviewers, and its error margin is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.