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At Least Nine Million Brazilians Give Up Catholicism, Shows Datafolha Survey

12/26/2016 - 16h09

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ANA ESTELA DE SOUSA PINTO
FROM SÃO PAULO

Brazil is becoming less Catholic. A Datafolha survey carried out from October 2104 to December 2016, shows that the No. 1 Christian religion in the world lost at least nine million followers, or six percent of the Brazilians over the age of 16.

Two years ago, 60% of the Brazilian people said they were Catholics, while this year 50% gave the same answer.

As the survey has a margin of error of two percent, the decline totaled a minimum of 6% and a maximum of 14% – in this scenario, the fall would amount to 20 million followers (something like the population of greater São Paulo).

In the same period, the percentage of those who say they do not have a religion more than doubled, rising from 6% to 14%.

However, that does not mean that Brazilians are losing their faith, says Reginaldo Prandi, a sociology professor at USP.

The growth rate of the world population is 1.21% per year, and Catholics are growing at 1.28%, while Evangelicals increase 2.12% and Pentecostals expand at 2.20%. Independent religions are growing at a 2.21% rate (reaching 2.94% in Asia).

Those without a religion are growing 0.31% a year, agnostics, 0.36% and atheists, 0.05%.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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