In gearing up for our Spain mission trip to Granada, one way our team leaders are having us prepare for the trip is by giving each of us a topic of Spain to research and present. My topic was on the religions of Spain and I was first up! I did some online research for statistical data, and interestingly, the data I found across websites was rather inconsistent, particularly with Catholics in Spain. After researching, I compiled all the info and then made my own iteration of the data. Below is my infographic (I LOVE infographics, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make one!) illustrating my findings and a brief summary of each. Please be aware that this is probably not the most accurate chart, but it’s more of a guideline. Download PDF
Spain is dominated by the Roman Catholic sect. According to statistics, about 75% of the Spanish population is considered Catholic. However, only about 20% attend religious services on a monthly basis. Others are christened Catholics but have no involvement with church or Catholic practices.
The Catholic Limbo
According to some surveys, 20% of the Spanish population is considered to have no faith in God or does not involve themselves in any form of religion. However, it is interesting to note that this 20% can sometimes be seen categorized as Catholic because according to Spanish heritage, even though they have never attended a church service, they still identify themselves as Catholic. This is a very common religious perspective in Spain because, as a Spaniard, it’s practically a given to consider yourself Catholic. With that, this unbelieving 20%, combined with the 75% Catholic, give Spain an astounding 95% of the total population in some surveys.
Immigration in the nineteenth century aided in increasing the number of Muslims in Spain. Today, Muslims comprise 3% of the total Spanish population, making Islam a religion that is freely practiced and Spain’s second largest religious group.
Two percent of Spain’s population consists of other faiths such as Judaism, Jehovah Witness or others. Protestant Christians consist of about 1% or less.
Although the majority of Spaniards are Catholics, most, especially those of the younger generation, ignore the Church’s conservative moral doctrines on issues such as pre-marital sex, sexual orientation or contraception. Present day Spain is secular in nature and gay marriage is legalized.
Given Spain’s history of Roman Catholicism from as early as the second century, it is interesting to note that almost every Catholic church or cathedral in Spain is considered a museum in itself. Although many of these churches and cathedrals are in desperate need of restoration, the true essence of Spanish life is felt as one enters and is reminded of the glorious forms of the Catholic churches of the past.