Census reveals more Protestants in Brazil
The number of people who declared themselves Catholic in the 2000 census
73.8 percent, down from 83.8 in 1991, the government's Brazilian Institute for
Geography and Statistics said.
Meanwhile, the number of people who said they were members of Protestant
religions grew to 15.4 percent, up from 9 percent in 1991.
Evangelical Protestant churches like the Assembly of God and Universal
of God have been very successful at appealing to Brazil's poor with their message
of strict adherence to the New Testament and prohibitions on drinking.
The number of people who said they had no religion also rose to 7.3 percent,
from 4.8 percent in 1991.
Protestant religions had their greatest advances in Amazon states such
Roraima, Amazonas and Acre, where nearly a quarter of the population said they
belonged to Protestant denominations. Brazil's poor northeast continued to maintain
the greatest concentration of Catholics, the institute said.
Rio de Janeiro was the state with the smallest proportion of Catholics,
57.2 percent, and the highest proportion of nonbelievers, with 15.5 percent.
The institute did not present statistics on other religions.
Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.