Survey says: we’re still Catholic, Democrats, and increasingly Nones

New research released last week tells us a couple of things about the Latino/a community in the U.S.

You can read it here:http://publicreligion.org/research/2013/09/hispanic-values-survey-2013/  

1) researchers really need to stop using the term “Hispanic” since its really not a good descriptive term for the diversity of the community and its origins in the Nixon administration’s attempts to define us in the US. Census is old news

2) That being said, the findings here are interesting:

A majority of Hispanics identify as Catholic (53%), one-quarter (25%) identify as Protestant—
nearly evenly divided between evangelical Protestant (13%) and mainline Protestant (12%)—
and 12% of Hispanics are religiously unaffiliated. Few Hispanics (6%) identify with a
non-Christian religion.

Despite the protestations and wishes of many of my Latino/a Pentecostal brethren, Latino/as are still overwhelmingly Catholic.  1/4 of the Latino/a population though is Protestant, and this number is surpirising, that its nearly evenly divided between evangelical Protestants and mainline Protestants is astounding given the dirges played for about 30 years about the demise of the mainline church…I wonder if that is new growth? I’ll have to look at that closer—that number did throw me for a loop.

The other numbers, that 12% of Latinos/as are religiously unaffiliated does not surprise me, and that number is about 4 % higher than the last survey I saw a few years ago which had that number at 8%.  Also that only 6 % of Latinos/as identify with non-Christian religion is not surprising–given not only the religious, but especially the cultural, social, and familial factors for why Latino/as choose their identities in the first place.  I would be interested in looking at that number deeper–since there has been, at least anedotally, a small move towards Islam in recent years, and there have been converts to particular branches of Buddhism since at least the late 60s and 70s. 

 The number that is particularly interesting is the increase in the religiously unaffiliated–most of this growth is among the younger population as well as former Christians.  Little evidence that Latinos/as are not born into some branch of Christianity–and with the familial ties being the glue that keeps most religious affiliations vibrant in la comunidad, I don’t foresee that changing any time soon.

I’m gonna keep mining this survey for a few more weeks—and perhaps with other data about who comprises the Tea Party/Evangelical/GOP base—once and for all put to rest this idea that there is an upswell of Latino/a evangelicals waiting in the wings to rescue the GOP from its own fringy self–Not gonna happen.

About Arlene Sánchez-Walsh

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