Skip to comments.Evangelicals: Change of Heart toward Catholics
Posted on 07/29/2008 4:39:52 PM PDT by annalex
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That is an absurd claim, which reveals an inability to understand numbers. It is based on comparing a 2007 study that showed 64 million Catholics with the 2008 Pew study that supposedly showed 54 million. However, the Pew study did NOT show 54 million Catholics. It showed that 24% of Americans are Catholic. Since the US population is about 306 million, that translates into about 74 million Catholics. The 54 million figure is presumably the number of ADULT Catholics. The Pew study itself says explicitly that the percentage of the US population that is Catholic has remained constant over recent decades -— which is in fact the case, as many studies have shown. The Pew study does not say that the Catholic population has declined -— it explicitly says otherwise. They do say that over the last several decades many Catholics have left the Church. But they also say that this has been offset by a combination of higher birthrate, immigration, and conversions to Catholicism, so that the Catholic percentage of the population has remained steady for the last 40 years. The Protestant percentage of population, on the other hand has shrunk dramatically.
As far as why the Southern Baptists have started to decline, the answer is probably pretty simple: low birthrate. Everyone knows that the “mainline” Protestant denominations have declined drastically in large part because of extremely low birthrates. What is less well-known is that even most “evangelical” groups have low birthrates -— and this includes the Southern Baptists, who are slightly older on average that the US population. According to the Pew study -— readily available online -—the great majority of Protestant groups have low birthrates. The high-birthrate exceptions are the Pentecostals, the non-denominational evangelicals, and black Protestants. The Catholics have pretty healthy birthrates, even leaving out the hispanics. The Catholic Church in the US continues to be one of the few “denominations” with steady growth year after year.
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