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Religious Affiliation

Individuals identify with particular religious traditions for theological, doctrinal, cultural or other reasons. Explore Pew Forum publications—including public opinion polls, demographic reports, research studies, event transcripts and interviews—about various faiths and their members.

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The Global Religious Landscape
A country-by-country analysis of data from more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers finds that 84% of adults and children around the globe are religiously affiliated. The study also finds that the median age of two major groups – Muslims (23 years) and Hindus (26) – is younger than the world’s overall population (28), while Jews have the highest median age (36).

 

Affiliations: 

Christian  Muslim  Unaffiliated 
Jewish  Other Affiliations   
Brazil’s Changing Religious Landscape
As young Catholics gather in Brazil, awaiting Pope Francis' visit in celebration of World Youth Day, an analysis of census data finds that the share of Brazil’s population that identifies as Catholic has been dropping steadily in recent decades. Over the same period, the percentage of Brazilians who belong to Protestant churches has been rising.
Growth of the Nonreligious
 About half of Americans say the growing number of “people who are not religious” is bad for American society. But a similar share say either that this trend is good or that it does not make much difference, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.   
Canada’s Changing Religious Landscape
As Canadians prepare to celebrate Canada Day on July 1, a new Pew Research Center analysis of Canadian census and survey data finds that more Canadians belong to minority faiths than ever before. In addition, the number of Canadians with no religious affiliation has been rising, and attendance at religious services has been dropping.
Among Muslims, Internet Use Goes Hand-in-Hand With More Open Views Toward Western Culture
A new Pew Research analysis finds that Muslims around the world who use the internet are much more likely than other Muslims to have a favorable opinion of Western movies, music and television and are somewhat more likely to see similarities between Islam and Christianity.
Frequently Asked Questions About "The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society"
The Pew Research Center study on “The World’s Muslims” has generated a great deal of domestic and international attention. We have received many emails from readers and are grateful for the interest and feedback. Here are answers to some of the most common questions we have been receiving.
The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society
A new survey report looks at attitudes among Muslims in 39 countries on a wide range of topics, from science to sharia, polygamy to popular culture. The survey finds that overwhelming percentages of Muslims in many countries want Islamic law to be the official law of their land, but there is also widespread support for democracy and religious freedom. 
Infographic: The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society
A new survey report looks at attitudes among Muslims in 39 countries on a wide range of topics, from science to sharia, polygamy to popular culture. An infographic highlights key findings from the report.
Conference Call Transcript - The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society
In a conference call with journalists, the staff of the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life discussed the findings of “The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society ,” the second report based on the survey.
Concerns About Religious Extremism in Boston Bombings Suspects' Homelands
A new Pew Research Center survey finds high levels of concern about religious extremism among Muslims living in the North Caucasus area of Russia and the neighboring Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. It also finds that most Muslims in the region reject violence against civilians.
American Hindus To Celebrate a New Year
While the date of the Hindu New Year varies by region and custom, many Hindus celebrate in mid-April at home and in temples. According to a 2012 survey of Asian Americans, 85% of Asian American Hindus attend worship services at a temple at least a few times a year, and 78% have a religious shrine in their home.
Applying God’s Law: Religious Courts and Mediation in the U.S.
Across the U.S., religious courts operate on a routine, everyday basis. How do some of the country's major Christian traditions and other religions - including Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism - decide internal matters and apply their religious laws?
U.S. Catholics Express Favorable View of Pope Francis
In the early days of Pope Francis' papacy, more than eight-in-ten U.S. Catholics (84%) say they have a favorable impression of the new pontiff, including 43% who express a very favorable view.
U.S. Christians’ Views on the Return of Christ
Easter is one of the most important religious holidays of the year for many Christians – a time to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to a 2010 Pew Research Center survey, roughly half (48%) of Christians in the U.S. say they believe that Christ will definitely (27%) or probably (20%) return to earth in the next 40 years. Somewhat fewer (38%) say this definitely will not happen (10%) or probably will not happen (28%).
Israel and the U.S. are Home to More Than Four-Fifths of the World’s Jews
U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Middle East from March 20-23. He will spend much of the time in Israel, home to 41% of the world’s Jews. Another 41% of the world’s Jewish population lives in the United States, according to Pew Research Center estimates.
Latin America’s Catholics in the Spotlight as Pope Francis is Installed
Latin America's share of the global Catholic population has increased over the past century, according to Pew Research Center estimates, but the portion of the region’s population that is Catholic has declined.
U.S. Catholics Happy with Selection of Pope Francis
In a new Pew Research Center poll, nearly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics say they are happy with the selection of Pope Francis. But they are divided over how big a change he represents for the church.
Resources on Catholicism and the Pope
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has a variety of resources on Catholicism and Pope Benedict XVI, including public opinion polls, research studies, event transcripts and interviews. 
‘Strong’ Catholic Identity at a Four-Decade Low in U.S.
The percentage of U.S. Catholics with a strong identification with the Catholic Church was as low in 2012 as it has ever been in General Social Surveys. During the same period, the percentage of Protestants who consider themselves strong members of their faith has been rising.
Conclave Elects Pope Francis
Pope Francis was elected on Wednesday as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio hails from Argentina and becomes the first Latin American pontiff. According to Pew Research Center data on the distribution of the world's Catholic population, the largest share of the Catholic population (39%) lives in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Geography of the Conclave: Where Do the Cardinals Come From?
The conclave to elect the next pope will begin on Tuesday, March 12. Half of the cardinal electors gathering at the Vatican are European (52%), while 17% come from Latin America. Latin America has the largest share of the world's Catholic population (39%), while 24% of Catholics live in Europe. 
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