• While Catholicism continues to see Latinos exiting the church, it still remains the largest faith for U.S. Hispanic adults, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. Pew finds that the share of Latinos identifying as Catholic dropped from 67 percent in 2010 to 43 percent in 2022. Among the 65 percent who said they were raised Catholic, as much as 23 percent said they no longer identified as such. Latinos born in the U.S. are less likely to be Catholic than those born abroad. Overall, they still remain about twice as likely as U.S. adults in general to identify as Catholic, and considerably less likely to be Protestant. Meanwhile, the share of Latinos who say they are atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” went up by 20 percentage points since 2010, from 10 to 30 percent. While Latino non-affiliation is on the rise, it is still outsized by the 70 percent who continue to identify with a religion. Even a substantial minority of the unaffiliated (29 percent) say they continue to pray at least weekly. Meanwhile, Protestants remain the second-largest faith group after Catholics, accounting for 21 percent of Hispanic adults, a share Pew reports has been relatively stable since 2010.

    (The Pew study can be downloaded from:


  • A new study finds that almost all of the top 25 worship songs used by churches originated from just a few megachurches. The website cross-referenced CCLI lists, which are considered the Billboard charts for church music, with the top songs of Praise Charts, from which churches often purchase chord charts and arrangements. The researchers arrived at a figure of only 38 songs that are among the top 25 titles sung in churches. Most of these songs are directly traceable to four megachurches: Bethel, Hillsong, Elevation, and Passion, along with a handful of other artists. In each of these megachurches, songs are usually performed during worship services and then become a staple on their YouTube channels, only a year or so later appearing on the CCLI charts. The researchers conclude that it “appears clear that a few megachurches and a small number of affiliated artists are shaping the song repertoire of a broad swath of Christian congregations.” This confirms anecdotal fears among churches that “unless a song has the support of these limited but powerful churches, they will not gain widespread popularity in the Christian music industry and, by extension, the church.”



  • A new study finds that Jewish young adults have mainly positive feelings toward rabbis, even when they have not interacted with them, and that they are open to a relationship with such clergy in the future. In an exploration of the impact of rabbis on Jewish young adults, Benenson Strategy Group

        Source: North Shore Synagogue.

    conducted in-depth interviews with 41 young American Jews aged 18–44 years, followed by an online survey of 800 Jewish Americans in the same age range. They found that 69 percent of their survey respondents had had an experience with a rabbi at some point, and those that did had mainly positive experiences (47 percent positive, 23 percent mixed, 7 percent negative, and 25 percent neutral). These interactions took place in contexts ranging from synagogue services and Shabbat dinners to college campuses, camps, and classrooms. Among those who interacted with a rabbi, 69 percent of Orthodox, 79 percent of Conservative, 73 percent of Reform, and 63 percent of non-denominational Jews had a positive experience with a rabbi.

    Only 12 percent of all respondents said that it was not currently important and would not be important to them in the future to have a relationship with a rabbi. Eighty-seven percent of Orthodox, 74 percent of Conservative, 56 percent of Reform, and 66 percent of non-denominational Jews rated it important to have a relationship with a rabbi. A majority of Reform (70 percent) and non-denominational Jews (63 percent) who said it was not currently important to have such a relationship were open to it becoming more important later in life. Across denominations, young American Jews’ top priorities for a rabbi were acceptance of themselves or how they chose to be Jewish and the rabbi being “someone I trust.” Forty percent of young Jews said it was hard to develop a relationship with a rabbi today because they felt some distance toward synagogues.

    (The report can be downloaded from:


  • Generation Z continues to show the highest growth of non-affiliation among all the generations, according to new data from the Cooperative Election Study. In the blog Religion in Public (April 3), political scientist Ryan Burge analyzes the raw data the study just released, which was collected in October and November of last year, and finds a significant shift in religious affiliation among the members of Generation Z just in the year since the previous wave of data collection. Burge notes that the study consistently uses the same questions and response options and the same survey mode—something that has not been the case with other surveys during the pandemic. Based on a sample of 60,000 survey respondents, Burge notes that the data showed no increase in non-affiliates or “nones” among the Silent Generation since 2020. There was a noticeable jump between 2016 and 2020, but that stopped in the last three surveys. This was also true for the Baby Boomers, who showed a noticeable jump during the Trump years, “then really no shift since 2020. Thirty-five percent of Generation X are nones now—that’s up a full ten points since 2008—but the lion’s share of that happened between 2008 and 2016. Modest shifts since then.”

    Millennials have been on a slow and steady march away from religion since 2008; the share of nones in 2016 was 38 percent and that has now jumped to 44 percent. “But Generation Z,” Burge writes, “already started at a much higher baseline—39 percent. Now, the share of the youngest adult generation that has no religious affiliation is 48.5 percent. It seems statistically justifiable to say that by the time the United States has another presidential election, half of Generation Z will identify as atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular…Generation Z is the least religious generation in American history. And they are becoming less religiously identified as each year passes. Every day in the United States, thousands of members of the Silent and Boomer generation are dying off. Every day in the United States, thousands of members of Generation Z are celebrating their 18th birthday and becoming official adults. That simple fact is changing American religion and society in ways that we can only begin to understand now.”

    (Religion in Public,


  • Although people from the “First Nations” in Canada are publicly portrayed as valuing their traditions of a creator god and holding nature in reverence, the recent Canadian census reveals that the country’s 1.8 million Indigenous people are anything but monolithic in regard to religion and spiritual practice. In fact, the census found a fast-rising number of Indigenous people who are choosing “no religion, and secular perspectives,” reports Douglas Todd in the Vancouver Sun (April 20). That share is now 47 percent, up from only 20 percent in 2011. There are also a declining number of Indigenous people who say that they are Christians (also about 47 percent). Only four percent of Canadian Indigenous people place themselves in the slot of “traditional (North American Indigenous) spirituality.” This small group would be closest to the historic form of spirituality described above and often extolled in Canadian educational resources. Indigenous religious diversity stretches surprisingly wide in 2023, flowing into unfamiliar streams, with about 1,840 Indigenous Canadians who say they are Muslim, while another 1,615 Canadians are Jewish.

    Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia.

    Todd writes that although the proportion of Indigenous people who belong to mainstream denominations is declining, “485,000 Indigenous people today (27 percent) still say they’re Catholic, 110,000 affiliate with the Anglicans and 42,000 are United Church members.” These churches ran residential schools for Indigenous children which have recently come under fire for abuses. In addition, 28,000 Indigenous people belong to the Pentecostal Church, which did not operate a residential school, along with 6,515 who are Jehovah’s Witnesses and 5,035 who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. According to Ray Aldred, a member of the Cree Nation who directs the Indigenous studies program at Vancouver School of Theology, the sharp increase in Indigenous people choosing the secular category may be a way of them saying “that they don’t want to be associated with ‘one of those,’” meaning the Christians who are increasingly being condemned for their role in operating the approximately 125 residential schools, almost all of which were closed by the 1970s. “He said Indigenous people are picking up the concept [of the secular] from attending college and university, where faculty tend to vilify Christianity and academic papers about the faith seem to only get published if the author can show they hate the religion,” Todd writes. “All that has an impact,” Aldred said. At the same time, he said many Indigenous people do not see a contradiction between Christianity and their peoples’ ancient spiritual ways. “Their families have been part of the church for a couple of hundred years.”

    (Vancouver Sun,


  • Visibly identifiable Jews, particularly Haredi Jews, are the main victims of antisemitic assaults in the West, according to a new study. Researchers at the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University examined dozens of assaults, including beatings, being spit on, and having objects thrown at victims, reported in New York (the city that recorded the most assaults in the United States), London (which saw the largest number of attacks in Europe), and several other cities. The study suggests that physical attacks on Jews tend to occur in a small number of areas in major urban centers, usually on the street or on public transportation rather than near or in synagogues or Jewish establishments. Most attacks appear not to be premeditated. Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews are the main victims, not only because they are easily identifiable as Jews, with their beards, black hats and coats, but also because they are seen as unlikely to fight back. The study found that the motivations of the perpetrators are not easy to discern and could be driven by a deeply held antisemitism, hatred for Israel, bullying, or a combination of the three.

    Source: ADL/Tel Aviv University.

    Dr. Carl Yonker, one of the leaders of the research, said it was “very disturbing to discover during fieldwork in London that some Haredim regard antisemitism as the inescapable fate of Jews in the diaspora, sometimes even blaming members of their own communities for the situation.” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which co-sponsored the study, added, “The data contained in this survey is very troubling. It is alarming to see the significant increase in antisemitic incidents and trends across the U.S. and in several other countries. Equally concerning is that, unlike in 2021, there were no specific events which can be linked to a rise in antisemitism, which speaks to the deeply-seated nature of Jew hatred around the world.”

    (The report can be downloaded from:


  • The growth of Hindu nationalism in India and the resulting decrease in religious freedom and social diversity are having a dampening effect on the country’s economy, according to a study appearing in the social science journal Society (online in April). Economists Abdul Shaban and Philippe Cadene analyzed data from 1990–91 to 2017–18 on the share of the population in 16 major Indian states speaking different languages and following various religions, along with data on per-capita domestic product spending. They found that religious and cultural diversity were more widespread due to the tendency of capitalist development to lead people to move to states with higher economic growth. But while the current leading parties have argued for economic liberalization and the development of entrepreneurship, the researchers note that they “simultaneously promote the religio-cultural nationalism leading to open and coercive violence which inhibits the diversity, languages, occupations, choices of food, practices, and expression of other religious and culturally diverse groups.” During the pandemic period, many states introduced laws “that restrict the employment opportunities only to the locals, limiting opportunities for the migrants. Local governments in some culturally diverse megacities of India are becoming less accommodative to minority languages and religions.” Thus, the “declining economic growth in India from 2017 onwards…may be linked to this cultural repression and anxiety among the economic agents.” The researchers conclude that it may not be religion itself that is responsible for economic decline but rather the “legitimacy of religious politics.”

    President Narendra Modi of BJP on a massive street sign – Delhi, India March 2015 (source: Erik Törner / Flickr).