(Pew Research Center/ by Michael Lipka) The face of Catholic America is changing. Today, immigrants make up a considerable share of Catholics, and many are Hispanic. At the same time, there has been a regional shift, from the Northeast (long home to a large percentage of the Catholic faithful) and Midwest to the Western and Southern parts of the U.S.
Our research also has documented the decline of Catholics as a share of the U.S. population. Still, roughly one-in-five U.S. adults say their primary religious affiliation is with the Catholic Church. Here are a few key demographic characteristics of the American flock that Pope Francis will find when he visits the U.S. for the first time, based on data from the 2014 Religious Landscape Study:
Catholics are more likely than other Americans to be immigrants or children of immigrants. Indeed, more than a quarter of U.S. Catholic adults (27%) were born outside the country, compared with 15% of U.S. adults overall; most of these Catholic immigrants (22% of all U.S. Catholics) are from elsewhere in the Americas.
As of 2014, an additional 15% of Catholic Americans have at least one foreign-born parent. That leaves 57% of Catholics who were born in the U.S. to two native-born parents. By comparison, nearly three-quarters (74%) of American adults overall were born in the country to two U.S.-born parents. (read full text)