This analysis is part of Pew Research Center’s most comprehensive, in-depth exploration of religion among Black Americans. Its centerpiece is a nationally representative survey of 8,660 Black adults (ages 18 and older), featuring questions designed to examine Black religious experiences. Responses were collected from Nov. 19, 2019, to June 3, 2020, but most respondents completed the survey between Jan. 21 and Feb. 10, 2020. Findings from the survey were first reported in the 2021 report “Faith Among Black Americans.” The Center recruited such a large sample to be able to examine the diversity of the U.S. Black population, allowing for this detailed look at Black Catholics.

Throughout this report, those who are counted as Black adults include not just respondents who identify as only Black, but also those who identify as both Black and Hispanic, or as Black and another race (such as Black and White, or Black and Asian American). This is consistent with the analysis used in the 2021 report. The White adults category used in this report includes only single-race, non-Hispanic White respondents, consistent with the Center’s previous analyses. Hispanic adults can be any non-Black race. Among Black Catholics in the survey, 16% identify as Hispanic and 7% identify as both Black and another race. Respondents who identify as both Black and Hispanic are not included in the Hispanic category, in order to ensure no respondent is included in more than one category. This decision has very little impact on the findings for Hispanics, since only 3% of all Hispanic adults in the sample, and 2% of Hispanic Catholics, identify as Black or African American.

Respondents to the Nov. 19, 2019-June 3, 2020, survey were recruited from four nationally representative sources: Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (conducted online), NORC’s AmeriSpeak panel (conducted online or by phone), Ipsos’ KnowledgePanel (conducted online) and a national cross-sectional survey by the Center (conducted online and by mail). For more information, see the Methodology section of “Faith Among Black Americans.” The exact wording of the questions used in this analysis can be found here.

Chart showing sample sizes and margins of error for groups analyzed in ‘Black Catholics in America’

For this report, the weights for non-Black respondents were trimmed at the 99.8th percentile instead of the 95th percentile that was used in the 2021 report. This was done to improve the quality of comparisons between Catholics of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

In addition to the 2019-2020 survey described in “Faith Among Black Americans,” some analysis in this report draws on an annual profile survey conducted Aug. 3-16, 2020, among members of the Center’s American Trends Panel. Details about methods used for ATP surveys are available here.

Sample sizes and margins of error for the groups analyzed in this report are included in the accompanying table. In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wordings and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.