SPAIN has been considered a Catholic stronghold, but according to statistics from the Centre of Sociological Investigation (CIS) there are now more non-religious people in Spain than practising Catholics.
The CIS sociocultural study conducted this year found that around 23 per cent of Spanish consider themselves practicing Catholics whilst 29 per cent claim to have no religious beliefs. Half the population referred to themselves loosely as non-practicing Catholics and the remaining 2 percent follow other religions.
To further compartmentalise the data the CIS split up the non-religious group into three sections: agnostic (7.5 per cent), atheist (13.3 per cent) and indifferent (8.3 per cent).
The figures also show a dramatic turn of the tide in Barcelona. More than 50 per cent of the population consider themselves Catholic but only around 11 per cent actually go to church and practice the religion. Some 70 per cent say they very rarely ever go to church other than on special occasions.
Madrid is one of the least religious areas in Spain in proportionate terms. The percentage of Catholics has fallen to around 20 per cent and there are more atheists than agnostics by a two per cent margin.