Saturday, September 26, 2015

Popes Around the World

Pope Francis' visit to the United States is the tenth time a pope has visited the country since 1964. In that time only Poland has received as many papal visits. The Washington Post's When Popes Hit the Road is a map of all papal visits to countries around the world since the early sixties.

The main map allows you to mouse-over any country on the map to view how many times a pope has visited the country. The accompanying timeline also allows you to select any of the 5 popes since 1964 to view where they have traveled around the world. If you scroll down the page you can also view individual maps for each of the 5 popes.

What most surprised me about the Washington Post's map is the number of visits to the United States. Obviously the U.S. has a huge population but I've never really thought of it as a predominantly Roman Catholic country. There are many more obviously Roman Catholic countries, which you might expect pope's to visit more regularly.

That's not to say that there isn't interest in Roman Catholicism in the United States. Google has released a Religion in America in Search Google Map which allows you to view the search interest in the major religions in 2014-2015 in each major metropolitan area.

If you look at the search history for 'Catholic' there appears to be quite uniform search interest in the religion across the country. Some other religions appear to have less widespread appeal across the country. For example, if you look at the map of the Mormon religion, you can see that most search interest comes from Nevada and the surrounding states.

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