Survey of the Attitudes of American Catholics (Infographic)

Chart of survey results.
Ahead of the Pope's visit to America, the Pew Research Forum interviewed 5,122 Catholics about their views on various topics. (Image credit: by Karl Tate, Infographics Artist)

Who Are American Catholics?


22 Percent of All Americans are Catholic (source: PRRI’s 2014 American Values Atlas)


59 Percent are White Non Hispanics

34 Percent Identify as Hispanic

7 Percent Identify as Mixed-Race or Other 


But age makes a difference:

79 percent of older Americans (those over 65) are White Non-Hispanics, versus 40 percent of 18-29 year olds who are White Non Hispanics

Younger Catholics are also on the cusp of being majority Hispanic, with 49 percent of the 18-29 age group identifying as Hispanic.



Church loyalty:

About 52 percent of people who are raised Catholic leave the church, either for a spell or permanently. Of those, only 11 percent call themselves “reverts,” meaning they return to the church. 


What do they believe on sexuality? In large part, they disagree with the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexuality.

66 percent believe using contraception is not a sin

54 percent believe living with a romantic partner prior to marriage is not a sin

35 percent believe it is a sin to remarry after a divorce without getting an annulment

44 percent believe it is a sin to engage in homosexual behavior




76 percent believe the church should allow parishioners to use birth control

66 percent believe cohabiting Catholics should be allowed to receive communion

62 percent believe Catholics should be able to remarry without receiving an annulment in order to receive communion

46 percent believe the church should recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples:



What do they believe on environment and social justice?

62 percent believe that working to help the poor and needy is essential to what it means to be Catholic

41 percent say they consider it sinful to buy luxuries without also donating to the poor

Only 23 percent say it is a sin to use electricity, gasoline and other forms of energy without concern for their impact on the environment.

Only 29 percent see working to address climate change as essential to what it means to be Catholic to them.

Karl Tate
LiveScience Infographic Artist
Karl has been Purch's infographics specialist across all editorial properties since 2010.  Before joining Purch, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University.