North Dakota and Arkansas are among the states that recently have passed legislation restricting access to abortion. Meanwhile, Washington state and New York are getting attention for possible action that could expand access to the procedure.
In the early days of Pope Francis' papacy, more than eight-in-ten U.S. Catholics (84%) say they have a favorable impression of the new pontiff, including 43% who express a very favorable view.
Easter is one of the most important religious holidays of the year for many Christians – a time to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to a 2010 Pew Research Center survey, roughly half (48%) of Christians in the U.S. say they believe that Christ will definitely (27%) or probably (20%) return to earth in the next 40 years. Somewhat fewer (38%) say this definitely will not happen (10%) or probably will not happen (28%).
U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the Middle East from March 20-23. He will spend much of the time in Israel, home to 41% of the world’s Jews. Another 41% of the world’s Jewish population lives in the United States, according to Pew Research Center estimates.
The U.S. Supreme Court is about to hear oral arguments in a pair of potentially groundbreaking same-sex marriage cases.
Latin America's share of the global Catholic population has increased over the past century, according to Pew Research Center estimates, but the portion of the region’s population that is Catholic has declined.
In a new Pew Research Center poll, nearly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics say they are happy with the selection of Pope Francis. But they are divided over how big a change he represents for the church.
Pope Francis was elected on Wednesday as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio hails from Argentina and becomes the first Latin American pontiff. According to Pew Research Center data on the distribution of the world's Catholic population, the largest share of the Catholic population (39%) lives in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The percentage of U.S. Catholics with a strong identification with the Catholic Church was as low in 2012 as it has ever been in General Social Surveys. During the same period, the percentage of Protestants who consider themselves strong members of their faith has been rising.
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has a variety of resources on Catholicism and Pope Benedict XVI, including public opinion polls, research studies, event transcripts and interviews.