Costa Rica still a conservative society, survey finds

January 18, 2017

Results of a survey conducted by the University of Costa Rica (UCR) found that most Ticos maintain a conservative stance on controversial issues related to society and human rights.

The university’s Center for Research and Policy Studies (CIEP) released results of its quarterly survey that highlights a prevalence of conservative positions on topics such as religion, abortion, same-sex marriage and politics. UCR’s weekly Semanario Universidad published the survey’s main findings on this week’s edition.

Researchers found that religion is still of great importance for Ticos and that a large sector of the population opposes same-sex marriage, abortion, and the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Religion

A majority of respondents – 70.3 percent – said religion is very important in their lives. Religion is also important among younger generations: 61.9 percent of people between 18 and 24 described religion this way.

Seven out of ten surveyed said they are Catholic, and two are Protestants — mostly evangelicals, Pentecostals and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Only one in ten people claimed to not profess any religion.

Costa Rica is one of the last remaining confessional countries in Latin America. According to the Constitution, Catholicism is the State’s official religion, and 60.3 percent of those surveyed by UCR researchers believe the country should maintain that status.

A quarter — 25.5 percent — of those surveyed believe that the relationship between the Costa Rican State and the Catholic religion should change.

Other topics

Surveyed people also showed conservative opinions about the approval of laws to legalize abortion here. Only three out of ten said they support abortion in cases of sexual abuse.

That opinion, however, is different among younger people: 50.9 percent of those between ages 18 and 24 said they are in favor of allowing abortion when pregnancy occurs as result of sexual abuse.

A resounding 78 percent of polled people also oppose the legalization of recreational marijuana, while almost 60 percent are against the approval of same-sex marriage. Conservative views on both issues remained constant since CIEP investigators included these topics in its survey in August 2012.

Opinions are divided about in vitro fertilization procedures.  Approximately 50 percent of respondents support the recent reinstatement of the procedure in Costa Rica, while 41.5 percent are against it.

CIEP conducted its survey by telephone with a sample of 774 people chosen in a representative percentage of the population by sex, age and educational level.

Investigators surveyed people between Oct. 31 and Nov. 23. Results have a margin of error of 3.5 percent and a confidence index of 95 percent.

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