A recent poll found that, while the majority of Hispanics in the United States identify as Catholics and take morally conservative stances on controversial issues, a significant gap exists between the older and younger generations on the issues of religion and morality.
The poll of 1,500 Hispanics conducted by Univision and the Associated Press (AP) analyzes the cultural attitudes in America’s Hispanic and Latino populations. The results of the poll were made public in articles in both English and Spanish.
The article in Spanish, published by Univision, focused on the fact that among Hispanics in the United States, 62 percent identify as Catholic, while 11 percent claimed no religious affiliation. Among that same demographic, 55 percent thought abortion should be illegal, while 39 percent thought that it should be legal. In regards to gay “marriage,” 35 percent thought that it should not be allowed while 31 percent were in favor of legalizing it. Univision also reported that, though a majority of Hispanics are Catholic, they are less likely to practice the faith, with only 35 percent of those surveyed attending religious services weekly.
The AP looked at a more specific breakdown, and found that the aforementioned figures were augmented by the older Hispanics. They reported that the younger generation and those who speak more English than Spanish are less likely to identify as Catholic and are less likely to oppose legalized abortion or gay “marriage.”
The English-language article summarizing the findings of the story also reported that 55 percent of young adults 18 to 29 identify as Catholics. Of the older generation, those 65 and older, 80 percent of those polled identified as Catholic. Of the younger demographic, 46 percent said that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. The study also found that 49 percent of Latinos who speak more English than Spanish are in favor of legalized abortion, a number which is comparable to the opinion of the general public.
The Pew Hispanic Center, a division of the Pew Research Center, confirmed to CNA that the Univision/AP study results are relatively similar to their December 2009 study of Hispanic youth.
Asked for further commentary on the newly released study, a spokesman explained that their policy prevents them from commenting on other research groups’ methods and findings.
In a Pew study entitled “Between Two Worlds: How Young Latinos Come of Age in America,” statistics demonstrated that the older generation was more likely to identify as Catholic and to attend church services. The survey also found that the likelihood of attending services decreased in younger generations, especially in the second and third generations born in the United States.
The Pew study also reported that “Latinos tend to be more conservative than other Americans on social issues such as abortion and gay marriage,” which correlates to the Univision/AP study’s findings. Also, “among young Latinos, there are notable differences by generation, with the foreign born and second generation more conservative than the third and higher generations.”