Monday, April 27, 2009
WASHINGTON D.C.,(CNA).- A new survey provides detailed information about the one in ten American adults who are former Catholics, showing that most left the faith before the age of 24. Those who became Protestant most often said their spiritual needs were not being met, while those who became unaffiliated most often said they just gradually drifted away.
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, which conducted the survey, released the results on Monday in a report titled “Faith in Flux: Religious Conversion Statistics and Changes in Religious Affiliation in the U.S.” The survey, a follow-up to the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey published in February 2008, polled all Americans who had left their childhood religion. The survey used 973 follow-up interviews and claims a margin of error among the entire U.S. population of plus or minus five percentage points.
The survey also distinguished between those Catholics who were now Protestant and those who were now unaffiliated. It claims a margin of error of plus or minus 6.5 percentage points for the first group and plus or minus 7 percentage points for the latter group.
Catholicism tends to retain childhood members at a rate of 68 percent, which the Pew Forum says is “far greater” than the retention rate of the unaffiliated and is comparable with or better than the retention rates of other religious groups. Former Catholics compose 10.1 percent of the overall U.S. population, while converts to Catholicism make up 2.6 percent.
Of all those raised Catholic, 15 percent have become Protestant, with nine percent now belonging to evangelical denominations and five percent belonging to mainline Protestant denominations. About 14 percent of those raised Catholic are now unaffiliated.
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Posted by Harry Liggett at 9:25 PM