Proposal to conduct The Sixth Nationwide Survey of American Catholics in a Changing Church

“…, findings relevant to all religious denominations in America and to scholars seeking greater understanding of contemporary religion and culture. ”

Team Members/Contributors

Michele Dillon University of New Hampshire Contact Me
Mary L Gautier Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) Contact Me
William V. D'Antonio Catholic University of America Contact Me

About this award

The proposed project is a nationwide survey of American adult Catholics including an over-sample of Hispanics designed to track continuity and change in the meaning and practice of Catholicism amid societal and institutional changes. This study will build on the cumulative findings from a series of five previous nationwide surveys of American Catholics conducted at six-year intervals since the late 1980s. It will allow for the continuing investigation of significant generational patterns in Catholicism, concurrent with the sunset of the pre-Vatican II generation (born in 1940 or earlier) and the coming-of-age of the growing postmillennial cohort (born in 1998 or later); this youngest generation of Catholics is particularly interesting in the way that it reflects the increasingly Hispanic composition of U.S. society. The proposed study will allow for (i) the tracking of the contours and substance of religious faith, identity, and commitment; and (ii) by including newly designed questions tailored to capturing recent changes in Catholicism (e.g., Francis’s papacy) and American society (e.g., the increase in religious un-affiliation; the numerical decline of white Christianity), explore the factors that contribute to the relevance of religious attachment and identify its perceived impact in individuals’ daily lives.