Explore Pew Forum analyses—including public opinion poll reports, demographic reports, research studies, legal reports and graphics—on an array of topics and issues at the intersection of religion and public life.

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.
High Court Strikes Down DOMA but Leaves Fate of Proposition 8 Uncertain
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The high court declined to rule on Proposition 8, leaving the legal status of same-sex marriage in California unclear. Read our legal analysis of the two major decisions.
Arab Spring Adds to Global Restrictions on Religion
Pew Research’s fourth major report on global restrictions on religion finds that the share of countries with high or very high restrictions on religion rose from 37% in 2010 to 40% in 2011. The Middle East and North Africa continued to have the highest levels of restrictions in the year when much of the Arab Spring uprisings occurred, with social hostilities involving religion increasing markedly and government restrictions remaining high.
Cuomo’s Proposal Aims to Protect Late-Term Abortion Access in N.Y.
After months of anticipation, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has introduced a proposal that seeks to protect access to abortion in the third-largest U.S. state. A new Pew Research Center analysis explores the details of Cuomo’s bill, which aims to codify Roe v. Wade in state law.
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.
Federal Appeals Case Brings Contraception Coverage Mandate Back Into Spotlight
Some for-profit businesses are joining religiously affiliated nonprofits in challenging the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, claiming it violates their religious liberty rights. A Pew Research Center analysis reviews the situation before a significant case is heard by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Religious Affiliation of U.S. Immigrants: Majority Christian, Rising Share of Other Faiths
A Pew Research Center report looks at how the religious makeup of legal immigrants to the U.S. has changed over the past 20 years. While Christians continue to make up a majority of new legal permanent residents, a growing share belong to other faiths.   
Rhode Island on Verge of Becoming 10th State to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
On April 24, Rhode Island took a step toward becoming the 10th U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage when its Senate approved a measure that would grant gays and lesbians the right to wed. Our analysis also discusses four other states that are considering proposals related to same-sex marriage.
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.
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?
New York, Washington State Consider Bucking Trend on Abortion Laws
North Dakota and Arkansas are among the states that recently have passed legislation restricting access to abortion. Meanwhile, Washington state and New York are getting attention for possible action that could expand access to the procedure.
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.
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.
During Benedict’s Papacy, Religious Observance Among Catholics in Europe Remained Low but Stable
When Benedict XVI was elected pope in 2005, religious observance among Europeans had been in decline for decades, and he set out to stem the tide of secularization. How successful was he? Pew Research polls indicate that during his papacy, religious observance among Catholics in France, Germany, Spain and Italy remained low but fairly stable.
Obama Administration Weighs In on Gay Marriage Case
The Obama administration has submitted a “friend-of-the-court” brief on the legal challenge to California’s gay marriage ban, which will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26.
Illinois Senate Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill
On Feb. 14, the Illinois Senate passed a measure that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Nine states and the District of Columbia already allow gays and lesbians to marry. And the U.S. public's support for same-sex marriage has been on the rise.
The Global Catholic Population
Over the past century, the number of Catholics worldwide has more than tripled. But the world’s overall population also has risen rapidly from 1910 to 2010. As a result, Catholics have made up a remarkably stable share of all people on Earth, though their geographic distribution has changed substantially.
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