‘Nones’ on the Rise Among Hispanics

‘Nones’ on the Rise among Hispanics

Kevin Clarke | Oct 18 2013 – America Magazine

A majority of U.S. Hispanics identify as Catholic (53 percent); 25 percent identify as Protestant (nearly evenly divided between evangelical Protestant and mainline Protestant ); and few Hispanics (6 percent) identify with a non-Christian religion. But perhaps the fastest growing “religious” demographic among Hispanics, according to a new report from the Public Religion Research Institute, is the religiously unaffiliated—or “the nones” (for “none of the above”) as they are known by other surveys.

Although Catholicism remains the majority religious affiliation among today’s Hispanic adults in the United States, its dominance has declined considerably when measured against respondents’ childhood affiliations. While the media and academic literature have noted the declining proportion of Catholics and increasing number of Protestants in the U.S. Hispanic community over time, the narrative has often emphasized Catholics converting to evangelical or charismatic forms of Protestantism. The PRRI’s 2013 Hispanic Values Survey reveals that this is only half of the story. When comparing today’s Hispanic adults to their childhood religious affiliation, Catholic affiliation drops by 16 percentage points, but growth does not merely accrue among evangelical Protestants. The ranks of both evangelical Protestants and the religiously unaffiliated have grown at roughly equal rates. Evangelical Protestant affiliation has increased by 6 percentage points (from 7 percent to 13 percent), while the percentage of those claiming no religious affiliation has increased by 7 percentage points (from 5 percent to 12 percent. “Nones” account for about 20 percent of the U.S. general population.

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