A new Pew Research Center survey of 18 Latin American countries and the U. territory of Puerto Rico asked people from Mexico to Argentina about their religious affiliation, beliefs and practices.
The survey also explored Latin Americans’ views on a wide variety of topics, including support for same-sex marriage and legal abortion, the morality of divorce and how best to aid the poor.
But former Catholics are less persuaded that the pope represents a significant change for the church, with many offering no definite opinion on his impact.
In all of Latin America, people in the Central American nations of Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador are among the most religiously committed and socially conservative.
For example, roughly one-in-four Nicaraguans, one-in-five Brazilians and one-in-seven Venezuelans are former Catholics.
Just 9% of adults in the region were raised Protestant and 4% were raised unaffiliated, but twice as many now describe themselves as Protestants (19%) or unaffiliated (8%).
Most Protestants across Latin America identify as Pentecostal Christians or are members of Pentecostal denominations.
By contrast, people in the “Southern Cone” countries of Argentina, Chile and especially Uruguay are among the most secular, with relatively low levels of religious commitment.
The biggest country surveyed – Brazil – falls somewhere between these two groups in terms of religious commitment and social attitudes.