CHANGE IN ALLEGIANCE

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Several demographic groups have undergone significant shifts in recent years in terms of their religious identification and composition. For example, the share of Hispanics who adhere to Roman Catholicism is rapidly declining. According to surveys by the Barna Research Group, two-thirds of Hispanic adults considered themselves Catholic a decade ago. Today, that figure has fallen to about half (49 percent), as some Hispanics have become part of other Christian denominations. When Hispanics convert to Protestant faiths, they are more likely than non-Hispanics to be drawn to charismatic, evangelical and Pentecostal churches than to Baptist churches or any of the mainstream Protestant faiths (e.g., Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian), which together draw a mere 1 percent of the Hispanic population.

Age differences also emerge. According to Barna, Americans 38 to 56 are most likely to consider themselves born again. Nearly half (49 percent) of 38- to 56-year-olds say they are born again, compared with one-third of people 19 to 37 and about one-third (36 percent) of those born before 1926. Women are more likely to be born again than men: 45 percent say they've “accepted Christ as their savior,� compared with 36 percent of men.

THE COLOR OF CHRISTIANITY

Blacks are much more likely to be born again than Hispanics, and Hispanics are less likely to consider themselves “committed Christians,� even though Hispanics are commonly perceived as one of the more religious ethnic groups.

RELIGIOUS CHARACTERISTIC HISPANICS BLACKS NON-HISPANIC WHITES
Considers self “born again� 27% 45% 42%
Considers self “absolutely committed� to Christian faith 30% 51% 51%
Considers moral truth to be absolute 15% 10% 26%
Source: Barna Research Group, 2001

BLACK AND WHITE

More than twice as many blacks as whites are actively searching for meaning and purpose in life.

RELIGIOUS CHARACTERISTIC BLACKS WHITES
Am “searching for meaning and purpose in life� 58% 28%
Feel has a responsibility to tell others about their religious beliefs 46% 33%
Source: Barna Research Group, 2001
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