The Pew Research Center released an analysis Thursday titled “Brazil’s Changing Religious Landscape.”
The report notes that Brazil still has more Catholics than any other country in the world, at an estimated 123 million. Yet, the percentage of Catholics in Brazil has been dropping steadily.
The percentage of Brazilians who belong to Protestant communities has been rising, and there is also a steady increase in the number of Brazilians who do not identify with religion.
In 1970, the study shows, Brazil was 92% Catholic. In 2010, that figure had dropped to 65%.
Protestants made up 22% of the population in 2010 (about 42 million people), up from 15% of the population in 2000 (with about 26 million people). The study did not include Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses as Protestants.
As Francis arrives to Brazil for World Youth Day next week, he will find that Brazilian young people are precisely the least Catholic age group. As of 2010, 73% of Brazilians ages 70 and older are Catholic, while 63% of those ages 15-29 identify as Catholic.
Protestants in 2010 made up 22% of Brazilians ages 15-29, and 10% of 15-to 29-year-olds had no religious affiliation.
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