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Catholic World News

23 million ex-Catholic adults in US; 6 million converts to Catholicism

April 28, 2009

A new survey has found that 10.1% of America’s estimated 230 million adults are former Catholics, while 2.6% of American adults are converts to Catholicism. Thus there are roughly 4 adult Americans who have left the faith for every 1 who has entered the Church.

The Pew Foundation report, which examines the reasons why people leave the Church, found that “Catholicism’s retention rate of childhood members (68%) is far greater than the retention rate of the unaffiliated and is comparable with or better than the retention rates of other religious groups.”

Fallen-away Catholics “are about evenly divided between those who have become Protestant and those who are now unaffiliated with any religion, with fewer now adhering to other faiths. Among Catholics who have become Protestant, most now belong to evangelical denominations.” The majority of those who leave the Church do so before the age of 24.


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