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The secular/religious mixed marriage survey is now closed, and the data diving begins…

We ended up with over 700 respondents from 46 states, seven Canadian provinces, and 20 other countries. A lot of good, rich, in-depth answers that I’ll gradually dole out in the blog.

One interesting bit is the Catholic connection. According to the survey, the most common childhood religion for people in secular/religious marriages by far is Catholicism (22%) — more than twice the number of Baptist upbringings, which comes in second at 10 percent. The most common current identity for the religious partner is also Catholic.

Haven’t drilled down into the switching data yet, but I’ll bet many of the mixed couples were both Catholic when they married, then one fell away. That would fit the results of the religion-switching study the Pew Forum did several years ago — the Pew-Switching Study, as it were — which showed that 25 percent of the religiously unaffiliated are former Catholics.

Here’s a graphic representation of the Pew study (click to enlarge):

(Courtesy of Michael Spencer.)

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.