NICOLÁS M. SOMMA, MATÍAS A. BARGSTED, & EDUARDO VALENZUELA
Abstract: Using Latinobarometer survey data, we study the evolution of religious identities among the adult populations of 17 Latin American countries between 1996 and 2013. We find several interesting patterns. First, the current religious landscape is highly dynamic and is becoming increasingly pluralist among a majority of countries. Changes derive not only from the growth of Evangelicals, as commonly assumed, but also from the sharp rise in irreligious individuals. Second, religious change cannot be convincingly explained by important theories such as secularization, religious economies, and anomie. However, the predictions derived from anomie theory seem more useful for understanding Evangelical growth. Finally, our cohort analysis indicates that aggregate religious change largely results from individual-level change across time—religious conversion and apostasy—rather than from generational replacement. Still, there are interesting variations across countries in that respect.