According to New Report, Hispanic Adults Are Losing Their Faith As They Get Older

Coinciding with National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Public Religion Research Institute just released a report called the “2013 Hispanic Values Survey.”

The big highlight for us is this one:

Compared with their religious affiliation as children, the percent of religiously “Unaffiliated” Hispanic adults more than doubles over time (from 5% to 12%) — that is to say, many Hispanics are losing their faith as they get older:

The percentage of Hispanic evangelical Christians changes by roughly the same amount, but it seems fair to say our side is gobbling up some of those young Hispanic Catholics.

When it comes to the Bible, the majority of Hispanics believe it’s the inspired Word of God, while a disappointing third see the Bible as literally true:

Nearly two-thirds of Hispanics believe that the Bible is the word of God, and half that number (33%) believe that it should be taken literally word for word, while similar numbers (28%) believe that not everything in the Bible should be taken literally. One-quarter (25%) of Hispanics believe the Bible is a book written by men and is not the word of God.

Finally, it’s interesting to note that, while a majority of Hispanics are Catholic, a majority of Hispanic Catholics (62%) still support same-sex marriage while nearly half of them (47%) support abortion rights.

Take that, Catholic Church!

The full report is available here.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • momtarkle

    It is certainly interesting to learn that some US Latinos are losing their affiliation with religion as they age. For me, it would be more interesting to identify the reasons for that change. And, is “losing their faith” changing at a different rate than it did in years past? Is this a trend?

    I’m pleased to know that the report’s authors included undocumented Latinos, or so the report indicates.

  • Anna

    Interesting, but I often wonder how useful the “Hispanic” designation is. People from many different races, countries, and language backgrounds are grouped together. It’s also not a sustainable category. Given marriage and childrearing with those of different backgrounds, how long will a family line remain “Hispanic?” It doesn’t seem to me that (in most cases) it can last beyond two or three generations. Needless to say, cultural and language ties are often lost long before then.

  • guest

    Most of the Catholic laity support gay marriage, it’s just the priests that refuse to catch up.

  • Doomedd

    I don’t think that Hispanic are losing faith as they age. The data seem to indicate that Hispanics faith change to match the religious environment. This is a process known as assimilation. Please take note of the rise of various protestants faith, especially evangelical. The rise of evangelicals worry me a lot, they tend to be FAR more intolerant that the average catholic. In the second graph, support for abortion and same sex marriage seem somewhat lower than Americans in general for the Catholics, it goes to scary levels for evangelicals.

    The term unaffiliated bother me a little. As an ex catholic living in a mostly catholic environment (province of Quebec), many ex Catholics are still christian but don’t turn protestant. Given the choice the survey offers, I guess that a few of those really pissed by the inanities of the Vatican identify themselves as unaffiliated. I wonder who many unaffiliated are really non religious.

    Of course, my culture is not the same as American Latinos. Americans have options ; Quebec have Catholicism or unbelief, disgruntled cathos can be vocal but there isn’t a whole lot of others familiars options.

  • David Tamayo

    In my opinion, the statistics are misleading because many of those “nones” are not so due to rational thought, but often due working 2 jobs and/or trying to assimilate to a local culture. Often these “nones” get “converted” again into a religion through marriage and/or peer pressure (i.e. receiving “free” help from a church). Islam continues to grow among the Hispanics in the U.S… it will be interesting to see where we are in 10-20 years from now. – David Tamayo, Hispanic American Freethinkers.


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