CARA researchers are actively involved in academic research, which is regularly presented at conferences and published in refereed journals or by an academic press. Submissions by current CARA researchers have been published, or are forthcoming, in: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociology of Religion, Review of Religious Research, Journal of Contemporary Religion, International Organization, Journal of Church and State, Comparative Political Studies, and The Social Science Journal, as well as volumes published by Oxford University Press, Brill Academic Press, Loras College Press, JAI Press, and Orbis Press. Below are links to some of the ongoing academic research of CARA staff.

Young Love: Catholic Marriage and Generational Differences

With the recent publication of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Pastoral Letter, Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan, Catholic marriage has become a topic of speculation, particularly young Catholics and marriage. What do young adult Catholics think about marriage? How do they differ from the generations preceeding them? In this presentation, given at the 2009 Annual Conference for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in Denver, Colorado, CARA researchers show that the youngest adult Catholics have different attitudes and expectations of marriage than others. Click here for a posting on CARA's blog about this research.

How Many Hispanics are Catholic?

The proportion of Hispanics who are Catholic and Protestant remains unclear, partly because of varying survey methodologies and limited understanding of how that variation affects estimates of Hispanic religious identification. CARA reserahcers compare results and methodologies of 11 national surveys conducted since 1990. This review suggests English-only interviewing artificially inflates Protestant identification among Hispanics. Additionally, defining Hispanic ethnicity based on national origin or ancestry may inflate Catholic identification. We also use survey data to explore effects of sampling bias, on-coverage bias, and weighting on religious identification. We conclude that 70 percent or slightly more is a reasonable estimate of the proportion of adult Hispanics who are Catholic, and 20 percent a reasonable estimate of the proportion Protestant or other Christian.

Catholic Schooling and Disaffiliation

Using event history analysis of 849 adults raised Catholic, CARA researchers examine effects of attending Catholic elementary school and high school on the likelihood one remains Catholic. Attending Catholic high school for at least three years significantly reduces the likelihood that one disaffiliates from Catholicism, reducing both the likelihood that one converts to another faith and the likelihood that one chooses to have no religion at all.

Religious Homogeneity in Catholics' Friendships
The 1988 and 1998 General Social Surveys (GSS) asked respondents to state the religion of their close friends. These questions have been used infrequently by scholars. This paper provides a brief summary of results for Catholic respondents. The proportion of Catholics' friends who are also Catholic remained stable between 1988 and 1998 at 59 and 58 percent, respectively. Several demographic and religious characteristics are correlated with homogeneity in Catholics' friendships. Income and education are inversely correlated with the proportion of one's friends who are Catholic. This may reflect upward social mobility, which has probably tended to carry Catholics out of tight-knit ethnic sub-communities. Controlling for other factors, those who attend Mass infrequently report lower proportions of Catholic friends than those who attend frequently.