Only 30% Of Young US-Born Latinos Are Catholic, Study Reveals


By Diego Lopez Marina

A new study from the Pew Research Center found that while Catholicism remains the largest religious group among Latinos in the United States, the number of Latinos who identify as Catholic has declined by 24% since 2010, with the biggest decline seen among young Latinos born in the country.

The Washington, D.C.-based think tank on April 13 released a survey of 7,647 American adults conducted between Aug. 1–14, 2022.

According to the study, 43% of Latinos identify as Catholic, a number much lower than the 67% recorded in 2010.

The situation is worse among younger Latinos. Of U.S.-born Latinos between the ages of 18 and 29, 49% say they have no religious affiliation and only 30% say they are Catholic.

Despite the discouraging numbers, the Pew Research Center survey says that Latinos are still “twice as likely as American adults overall to identify as Catholic and considerably less likely to identify as Protestant.”

Increase in those without religious affiliation in the U.S.

The study notes that most surveys show that there has been an increase in the number of those who do not practice any religion.

The percentage of Latinos with no religious affiliation — who identify as atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular” — is 30%, which means an increase of 18% compared with 2013 and 10% compared with 2010.

According to the Pew Research Center, the trend of belonging or not belonging to any religion among the Latino population in the United States is on par with what is happening with other ethic groups in the country. 

Among U.S. Latinos between the ages of 18 and 29, 79% were born in the United States. Of that group, approximately 49% say they have no religious affiliation.

“There’s a tendency among young people of all ethnic groups to disaffiliate from social and cultural organizations of all types,” Matthew Wilson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, told USA Today.

However, the results of the survey differ when it comes to Latinos aged 50 or over: Of this age group, only 1 in 5 claims not to belong to any religion. The Pew Research Center noted that the majority of these people (56%) were born outside the United States.

Regarding Latino immigrants, the report shows that 52% identify as Catholic and 21% say they do not follow a particular religion.

“U.S.-born Latinos are less likely to be Catholic (36%) and more likely to be nonreligious (39%),” the Pew Research Center report revealed.

Regarding Protestants, the survey said they are the second-largest religious group after Catholics and represent 21% of Latino adults, a proportion that has remained relatively stable since 2010.

More and more Latinos abandon religion in which they were raised

According to the Pew Research Center report, a third of Latino adults have indicated that their current religion is different from that of their childhood, with Catholicism being the religion that has suffered the “greatest losses.”

Nearly a quarter of all Latinos in the United States stopped being Catholic, the survey said.

In addition, 23% of Latinos who were raised Catholic said they were no longer Catholic, compared with 1% who were raised outside the faith and later became Catholic.

The survey also indicates that only 3% of Latinos who grew up without a religion adopted a creed as adults. On the other hand, 20% of adult Latinos abandoned the religion in which they were raised and stopped professing any faith. 

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.


The Catholic News Agency (CNA) has been, since 2004, one of the fastest growing Catholic news providers to the English speaking world. The Catholic News Agency takes much of its mission from its sister agency, ACI Prensa, which was founded in Lima, Peru, in 1980 by Fr. Adalbert Marie Mohm (†1986).

2 thoughts on “Only 30% Of Young US-Born Latinos Are Catholic, Study Reveals

  • April 18, 2023 at 12:51 am

    It is no surprise, because Latin America, which is largely Catholic, has failed the economic migrants, who have left for the USA. The migrants cannot fail to see the connection between the USA, lack of Catholicism and it’s vibrant economy. That is not to say that there is a direct connection, but the implication is that the Catholic religion present in Latin america, has not reflected in positive economic growth, for that continent. The most similar to Catholic countries for lacklustre economic growth, is Muslim countries, where 50% of the potential workforce , is consigned to service the male population.

  • April 18, 2023 at 7:05 pm

    What is sad is that many Latinos do not realize the lifeblood of their culture (and the cement for their close families) has been and must remain Catholicism. If they jettison Catholicism, they will lose their culture and their families. The aggressive Protestant strains in Central and South America, which are nothing but “religion lite”, will simply wipe out the richness and beauty of Latino culture.


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