Brazil's Catholic population declining

July 18, 2013 at 6:22 PM

BRASILIA, Brazil, July 18 (UPI) -- Brazil's Catholic population has declined since 2000 while its Protestant population has grown during the past two decades, a Pew survey fund.

There were about 123 million Catholics in Brazil in 2010, accounting for 65 percent of the overall population. That's down from 74 percent in 2000, when there were 125 million Catholics in the nation, the Pew Research Center reported Thursday.

Brazil's Protestant community has grown from 26 million in 2000 to 42 million in 2010. Brazil's Pentecostal or neo-Pentecostal population has grown to 6 percent of the country's population in 1991 to 13 percent in 2010.

Pew said it found Brazilian Catholics tend to be older and live in rural areas, while its Protestants tend to be younger and live in urban areas.

The Pew study was released ahead of Pope Francis' upcoming visit to Brazil in celebration of World Youth Day.

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