No clear ‘Pope Francis effect’ among US Catholics

A new analysis of pooled Pew Research surveys conducted between Pope Francis’ election in March and the end of October this year finds that the percentage of Americans who identify as Catholics has remained the same – 22% — as it was during the corresponding seven-month period in 2012.

“In fact, our polls going back to 2007 show Catholic identification in the US has held stable, fluctuating only between 22% and 23%,” Pew Research said in its latest post.

The group said that although Americans may report attending church more frequently than they actually do, surveys find that self-reported levels of Mass attendance have remained virtually unchanged since the new pope was elected.

Since April of this year, 39% of US Catholics report attending Mass at least weekly, similar to the 40% attendance figure last year.

The pope appears to be well-liked by Catholics and non-Catholics alike, rated favorably by 79% of Catholics and 58% of the general public, but the report said the pope’s popularity seemed to have not produced a Catholic resurgence in the US.


Pew Research Center

ImagePew Research Center

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