Making Sense of Surveys on Religion

“Almost every discussion of “Catholics” as a single, undifferentiated group, is about as useful as articles on “Millennials.” Catholics who attend Mass regularly tend to give very different answers than those who were baptized but don’t particularly practice, but they are often all rolled up into one category.

In fairness to the pollsters, it’s expensive to poll enough people to be able to split Catholics into subcategories, so people usually don’t do it unless it’s an in-depth religion survey, but using simple “Catholic,” “Evangelical Protestant,” “Non-Evangelical Protestant” buckets in analysis gives just enough information to mislead.

Even when a pollster does a deep dive into a particular faith—I’ve found some pretty interesting statistics to dig into—there’s almost always something I’m curious about that I have to leave out, because the question is too complicated to handle in a straightforward survey.”

Read more at First Things