The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Catholicism fell by 13 % in Latin America between 1995 and 2014 according Latinobarometer, in a year of papacy of Francisco, representing an average decline rate of 0.7 % per year in the region.
The drop of followers was stronger in countries like Nicaragua, which had a negative change of 30%, followed by Honduras with 29%, representing a drop of one-third of Catholics.
While Costa Rica and Uruguay both dropped by 19%, Chile was ranked fifth with a negative variation of 17%.
The only countries where an increase of the numbers of Catholic followers has been recorded, are Dominican Republic, which rose 1 %, measured only in the period from 2004 to 2013, and Mexico, with an increase of 2 %.
According to the study, conducted by the Chilean consultant Mori, “Latinobarometer data indeed show that the decline of religion is much less than what the news agenda implies.”
“The process of secularization that brings economic development does not have the same impact in Latin America than it has had in other parts of the world. Those who leave Catholicism do not become necessarily atheists or agnostics, but rather embrace another religion” concludes the report.
The study also adds the increased number of evangelical believers in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala, reaching more than 30 percentage points.
While in Chile and Uruguay the number of agnostic citizens starts growing.
However, Catholicism still remains the predominant religion in many countries in the region.
Thus, among the countries with the highest percentage of believers are Paraguay (with 88%), Ecuador (81%), Mexico (79%), Venezuela (79%) and Argentina (77%).
By contrast, countries with a lower rate of followers are Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, all with 47% and Uruguay with 41% of people who are classified as Catholics.
The study of Latinobarometer was a sample of more than 20,000 people in 18 countries in Latin America.
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose, Costa Rica