Report: MA 4th Most Catholic State
Friday, March 15, 2013
Nineteen Sixty-Four, a research blog for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, is a non-profit research center that conducts social scientific studies about the Catholic Church.
Founded in 1964, CARA has three major dimensions to its mission: to increase the Catholic Church's self understanding; to serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers; and to advance scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism.
Yesterday’s naming of Cardinal Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires as Pope Francis I, caused a stir locally, with the city being home to two Catholic universities – Holy Cross and Assumption College.
The Top States/Territories
Massachusetts came in at number four on the list of states with 23,791 Catholic infant baptisms in 2010. Of the state’s 72,856 total births that year, 32.4 percent were baptized Catholic.
California was the top state with 35.9 percent of its births in 2010, with a total 182,931 Catholic infant baptisms that year. New Jersey was next, followed by the Commonwealth’s close neighbor – Rhode Island.
Guam and Puerto Rico outweighed all US states, however, in terms of the percentage of Catholic baptisms at birth. Guam only saw 1,699 Catholic infant baptisms, but that was 49.7 percent of their total births. Puerto Rico came in with 48.6 percent – 20,467 of the territory’s 42,153 births in 2010.
States from the Southern US predominantly made up the bottom ring of the list. West Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Alaska were the bottom five, with the lowest at 4.4 percent.
The average for the US and its territories came out to 20.3 percent, or 819,688 of the 4,047,780 births in 2010.
CARA reports that Mass attendance levels have shown no significant change since the group began measuring these nationally in 2000, despite what they called a “decade of turmoil and change.”
The group also reports that in the last five years of data combined, the Church has baptized more than 4.5 million infants and fewer than 300,000 other children/minors.
“One could hope for a big uptick in Catholic fertility rates and baptismal decisions that mirror the period between 1958 and 1973 when infant baptisms regularly measured more than 30% of all births in the United States (the peak year is 1965 with 1,274,938 infant baptisms and 3,760,358 births). But this seems unlikely.”
Although Catholic retention rate is high, compared to other religions, their report says, numbers have been declining in recent years.
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