U.S. Catholics Divided On Church’s Direction Under New Pope
As the pontificate of Benedict XVI winds down, three-quarters of American Catholics express a favorable view of the pontiff. Meanwhile, most U.S. Catholics say it would be good if the next pope allows priests to marry. And fully six-in-ten say it would be good if the next pope hails from a developing region like South America, Asia or Africa.
The Global Catholic Population
Over the past century, the number of Catholics worldwide has more than tripled. But the world’s overall population also has risen rapidly from 1910 to 2010. As a result, Catholics have made up a remarkably stable share of all people on Earth, though their geographic distribution has changed substantially.
Table: Religious Composition by Country, in Numbers
The Global Religious Landscape
A country-by-country analysis of data from more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers finds that 84% of adults and children around the globe are religiously affiliated. The study also finds that the median age of two major groups – Muslims (23 years) and Hindus (26) – is younger than the world’s overall population (28), while Jews have the highest median age (36).
Americans Learned Little About the Mormon Faith, But Some Attitudes Have Softened
Eight-in-ten Americans say they learned little or nothing about the Mormon religion during the 2012 presidential campaign, according to a new Pew Research Center poll. At the same time, poll findings suggest some warming of attitudes toward Mormonism, especially among religious groups that voted heavily for Mitt Romney.
Election 2012 Post Mortem: White Evangelicals and Support for Romney
Leading up to the election, there was speculation about how strongly white evangelical Protestants would support a Mormon candidate. According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of exit poll data, white evangelicals voted for Mitt Romney with as much enthusiasm as his other supporters did.
Faith on the Hill: The Religious Composition of the 113th Congress
The newly elected 113th Congress includes the first Buddhist to serve in the Senate, the first Hindu to serve in either chamber and the first member of Congress to describe her religion as “none.” While Congress remains majority Protestant, the institution is far less so today than it was 50 years ago.
Catholics’ Views of U.S. Bishops
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will meet in Baltimore for their annual Fall General Assembly on Nov. 12-15. Seven-in-ten Catholics say they are very (24%) or somewhat satisfied (46%) with the leadership of the American bishops, according to a Pew Research Center Survey.
The Catholic “Swing” Vote
Catholics are often identified as a major “swing” voting group in American politics. A new analysis shows that the only group of Catholics that has been divided in recent elections is white Catholics who identify as political moderates.
“Nones” on the Rise
The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.