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Pew: Hispanics transforming U.S. religious landscape

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 10, 2007


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According to a series of public opinion telephone surveys conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, between August 10 and October 4, 2006, Hispanics are transforming the nation’s religious landscape. The researchers came to this conclusion based on their findings; and believe the changes are the result of the fast growing Hispanic population numbers and because Latinos are practicing a distinctive form of Christianity.

As part of the survey the two organizations conducted more than 4,600 interviews, resulting in one of the largest data collection efforts on this subject. The study examined faith and behaviors and their association with political beliefs among Latinos. Researchers placed particular focus on Catholics, including those who remain with the church and those belonging to evangelical churches.

The study suggests that religion influences Latino political views. The researchers concluded that most Latinos believe religion provides a moral compass that includes political thought. At the same time, most Latinos feel the pulpit is an acceptable forum for social and political issues.

According to the study, evangelical Latinos are twice as likely as Catholic Latinos to identify with the Republican Party; and Catholic Latinos are much more likely than evangelical Latinos to identify with the Democratic Party.

The study centered on a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 4,016 Hispanic adults. The survey included an oversample of 2,000 non-Catholics to examine the growth of evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity among Latinos, including a detailed examination of the process of conversion. The sampling methodology included significant numbers of respondents in the major country-of-origin Hispanic segments.

The Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life are projects of the Pew Research Center, a Washington-based, nonpartisan research organization that seeks to provide timely information free of any advocacy on issues, attitudes and trends that are shaping America and the world. This study is the result of a yearlong collaboration involving more that a dozen researchers drawn from the staffs of both projects with expertise in a variety of subjects and research methodologies.

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