The dynamics of religious mobility: investigating the patterns and sociodemographic characteristics of religious affiliation and disaffiliation in a Brazilian sample

Abstract

Little research has been done in Brazil regarding religious mobility, that is, the patterns of religious conversion and disaffiliation, the ways in which one moves from one religion to another or from religion to non-religion. This study aimed to investigate the patterns of religious affiliation and disaffiliation in a sample of the Brazilian population and the association of such patterns with sociodemographic characteristics. The sample consisted of 1.169 participants (mean age = 40.84, sd = 15.34). Our results showed that two-thirds of the religious believers have maintained their affiliation over time. However, more than one-third of participants reported that they have switched religions, have left their religion to become non-religious, or have switched from non-religion to religion. Females tend to switch religions more often than males. But depending on the original affiliation, participants avoided certain religions. Catholics were less likely to become Protestants or Unaffiliated. Protestants were less likely to become Catholics or members of mediumistic religions. Members of Spiritism, Umbanda, or Candomblé were less likely to become Catholics. Most Atheists and Agnostics comprised respondents who had initially been religious. These findings suggest that religious mobility depends, at least in part, on the influence of previous religious involvements.

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Correspondence to Mario Fernando Prieto Peres.

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This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Albert Einstein Hospital (São Paulo, Brazil), and all participants provided an online informed consent.

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Maraldi, E.d.O., Toniol, R.F., Swerts, D.B. et al. The dynamics of religious mobility: investigating the patterns and sociodemographic characteristics of religious affiliation and disaffiliation in a Brazilian sample. Int J Lat Am Relig (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41603-020-00107-1

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Keywords

  • Religious mobility
  • Religious conversion
  • Non-religiosity