Most Hispanics in U.S. Call Themselves Catholic

Survey Shows 0.2% Are Muslim

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WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 22, 2002 ( A recent survey found that 72.6% of Hispanics living in the United States say they are Catholic, and religious practice among them is relatively high.

The survey, whose results were published Tuesday, was commissioned by The Latino Coalition and conducted by McLaughlin & Associates’ Opiniones Latinas.

The study was based on 1,000 interviews carried out Aug. 2-14. It has a margin of error of 3.1%.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Hispanics number 35.3 million, or 12.5%, out of a population of 281 million. They are now the country’s largest minority.

When asked “What is your religion?” the response was: 72.6% Catholic; 13.7% Protestant (5% evangelical, 2% Pentecostal, 6.7% other denominations); 0.3% Jewish; 0.4% Mormon; 0.2% Muslim/Islamic; 1.9% atheist/agnostic; 0.1% other. (Results don’t add up to 100% because of non-responses.)

To the question, “How often do you attend church services or a regular prayer meeting?” the response was as follows: 64.3%, regularly (15.8% more than once a week, 34.4% once a week, 14.2% a couple of times a month); 7.8%, once a month; 8.8%, a couple of times a year; 8.8%, rarely; 7.5%, never.

Asked about the most important issue facing Latinos in the United States today, the response was: immigration, 17.8%; discrimination/prejudice, 17.8%; education, 14.8%; employment/unemployment, 9.5%.

The Latinos believe that the quality of education in their local public schools is: negative, 56.4%; fair, 37.3%; poor, 19.1%; positive, 38.8%; excellent, 12.2%; good, 26.6%.

According to the Latinos, the biggest problem facing public education today is: violence and drugs, 33.3%; lack of good-quality teachers, 17.1%; overcrowding, 13.8%; lack of basic reading, writing and math skills, 12.5%; teaching of nontraditional values, 8%; lack of bilingual education, 6.4%; lack of choice for parents, 4.2%.

About 55.9% said that the Hispanic community should be more integrated in American society, even if it means losing some of its own cultural identity. However, 32.6% said the community should keep its own culture, even if it means being somewhat separate from the rest of American society.

Those interviewed said that the greatest barrier keeping Latinos from succeeding is: language, 28.8%; lack of education, 18.8%; discrimination, 14.4%; Hispanics/themselves, 6.3%; immigration laws, 4.3%.

Family data on adult Hispanics showed: married, 56.3%; single, never married, 25.7%; separated, 4.7%; divorced, 7.6%; widowed 4.7%.

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