The number of Brazilians who called themselves Catholic in the 2000 census was 73.8%, down from 83.8% in 1991, the government´s Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics said, according to the Associated Press.
The number of people who said they were members of Protestant religions grew to 15.4%, up from 9% in 1991. The ranks of people who said they had no religion rose to 7.3%, up from 4.8% in 1991.
Protestant religions saw their biggest gains in Amazon states such as Rondonia, Roraima, Amazonas and Acre, where nearly a quarter of the population said they belonged to Protestant denominations.
Rio de Janeiro was the state with the smallest percentage of Catholics (57.2%) and the highest proportion of nonbelievers (15.5%).