05 November 2014

Dramatic Religious Shift in Brazil as Evangelicals Are Rapidly Overtaking Catholics

Brazil is undergoing a religious revolution. In 1970, 92% of the population claimed to be Catholic, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics; in 2010 only 64.4%. “Brazil is unique: It’s the only large country to have seen such a profound change in its religious landscape in so short a time,” said José Eustáquio Alves of the National School of Statistical Science in Rio de Janeiro. The change is due to the growth of the evangelical churches, particularly the Pentecostals and Neo-Pentecostals. (Lutheran, Baptist and Methodist membership is stable.) Evangelicals have gone from 5% to 22% of the population in 40 years. With 23 million believers, Brazil is still the world’s largest Catholic country — but not for long, according to Eustáquio Alves, who calculates evangelicals and Catholics should be neck-and-neck by 2030.