Immigrants from the Philippines remain highly Catholic even if they are staying in the church at a lower rate than they did in their home country, according to Stephen Cherry of the University of Houston.
Cherry found that 85 percent of Filipinos have retained their Catholicism, with only 21 percent claiming Protestant affiliation. But they are less Catholic than in their home country, where 88 percent are Catholic. In an analysis of the 2012 Pew Asian American Survey presented at the November meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in Boston, which RW attended, Cherry found that the Philippines is the second largest source of Catholic immigration to the U.S., and that Filipinos have the second highest church attendance rate (37 percent) and involvement in church beyond worship (48 percent) among Asian-Americans.
Cherry found that Filipino Catholics have retained their faith in two distinct waves of immigration and that they have produced a growing number of priests in the American church. Although the 23 percent drop in Catholic affiliation between Filipino in their home country and those in the U.S. is a key issue of concern, Filipinos have so far defied trends that have impacted other Catholic immigrant groups.
While there have been Protestant gains through intermarriage, there is a trend toward switching back to Catholicism with the birth of children, particularly when the husband is Catholic. Cherry also found that church splits in Protestantism have led some back to Catholicism and parish-based groups such as the Catholic charismatic renewal, which is particularly strong among Filipinos.