Is Your Religion Your Financial Destiny?

Photo: steelman (CC)

Jehovah's Witnesses. Photo: steelman (CC)

This is one of the most interesting studies on comparative religions that I have seen in a long time. Who’d be a Jehovah’s Witness, eh? David Leonhart reports for the New York Times:

The economic differences among the country’s various religions are strikingly large, much larger than the differences among states and even larger than those among racial groups.

The most affluent of the major religions — including secularism — is Reform Judaism. Sixty-seven percent of Reform Jewish households made more than $75,000 a year at the time the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life collected the data, compared with only 31 percent of the population as a whole. Hindus were second, at 65 percent, and Conservative Jews were third, at 57 percent.

On the other end are Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Baptists. In each case, 20 percent or fewer of followers made at least $75,000. Remarkably, the share of Baptist households making $40,000 or less is roughly the same as the share of Reform Jews making $100,000 or more. Overall, Protestants, who together are the country’s largest religious group, are poorer than average and poorer than Catholics. That stands in contrast to the long history, made famous by Max Weber, of Protestant nations generally being richer than Catholic nations.

Many factors are behind the discrepancies among religions, but one stands out. The relationship between education and income is so strong that you can almost draw a line through the points on this graph. Social science rarely produces results this clean…

[continues in the New York Times]

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  • Hadrian999

    i’m guessing this pole didn’t include the Hindus living in india

  • Hadrian999

    i’m guessing this pole didn’t include the Hindus living in india
    seems like a thinly disguised ethnic and class breakdown rather than effects of religion

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      The hindus in the US are the ones that had enough money to come over here at some point 

      • canadian hindu advocacy

        Right. And you can say the same about Chinese, But they make less money than white folks.  

    • Inventingnothing

      The economic differences among the country’s various religions are strikingly large, much larger than the differences among states and even larger than those among racial groups. 
      I’m pretty sure this only reflects religious groups in the U.S. So in all actuality, I don’t know what your comment is trying to imply. If you were simply talking about “ethnic and class breakdown” solely within the U.S., I am not sure I understand the difference. The point of the article is not to say definitively that Religion A = Income X. The point of the article, and the findings of the study show that Religion A tends towards Income X. There is a large difference between “Equal/Proves/ ‘If/Then’ ” and “There is a strong correlation between A and X”. One indicates a cause/effect relationship, the other merely shows a trend but understands the impossibility of taking into account all other possible factors.

      You learn this in Statistics 101, and though I am not a statistician major, I have taken 4 stat class for my major, and this is something they pound into your head constantly. 

      • Hadrian999

        my point was that it shows much more about the cultures of different groups than it does about specific religions. Hindus doing well says more about the culture and work ethic of Indian immigrants than it does about Hinduism. religion is very much linked to social class in the USA, social class and cultural beliefs are a much bigger factor than religious observance

        • http://www.facebook.com/ed.hieronymus Paul Edward Hieronymus Jr

          Well considering that one’s cultural beliefs and their social class stem from their religion, then it would seem that religion plays a large part.  There are many people working in the kitchens of McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants as well as in many other low paying occupations across the land whose lives could really be improved significantly if they would embrace the changes that someone like Obama would want to bring to their lives, but since they believe The Bible is the only book they need to know anything about, then they don’t care too much for improvements in the education system. They don’t want any improvements in health care because they believe Jesus is always just on the verge of returning soon and that he will bring them all Mansions and Cadillacs, and really they don’t want Obama to do anything for them at all except get out of the White House as they don’t trust Obama because of his skin color (and The Bible justifies that too).

          Due to these types of beliefs largely stemming from their religion, their families are always trapped at the low end of the economic spectrum; however, many of their preachers tend to do alright.

          • Hadrian999

             you could get into a whole chicken and egg argument over the relations of religion and social class but my argument is that it is social class and not religion that effects the life path, if one decided to be hindu but was not raised by strict Indian parents the effects on earning potential and education level wouldn’t be there, the attitudes you mention spring more from baggage picked up by religious practice rather than the religion itself. you often see regional social practices added to religious ceremony or practice that really have no religious reason.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ed.hieronymus Paul Edward Hieronymus Jr

             Well if they’re adhering to the strict tenets of Fundamentalist Protestant Religion (and at least 70% of American Protestants are Fundamentalists)and their Fundamentalism tells them to act in the ways that they do that propagate their low status on the economic scale, then how is social class affecting their position?  It would seem that their social class is a direct outgrowth of their Fundamentalist religious practices.  If they weren’t following the tenets of their Fundamentalist religion, then they would be more willing to embrace things like better education and other things that would lead to an improvement of their social class.

          • Hadrian999

             it’s the question of what came from what, did their fundamentalist spring from their social class and regional culture or did their social class and regional culture spring from their religion?

          • http://www.facebook.com/ed.hieronymus Paul Edward Hieronymus Jr

            I think it could be like the Pine Folk up in New England that Lovecraft writes about in his stories “The Picture in the House” and “Beyond the Walls of Sleep” or the people in Appalachia.  At one point in time they were better off than they are now, but they held on to the religious beliefs that had then while the world progressed, and they’re obstinate so they’re still holding on to the religious beliefs that in a lot of ways keep (most of) them from making any real improvements in their lives.

            The article talks about how in other nations the Protestants have more than the Catholics, well I would think that would be because in a lot of those places (I’m thinking European type nations) the Protestantism was Progressive and more of a move towards Deism while American Protestantism ie. mainly Fundamentalism would be more regressive / repressive in as far as it would go in allowing its adherents to keep up with a changing world and various economic situations.

          • Hadrian999

             I agree with you I just don’t know if it is specifically religions or the environments and social circumstances that surround them, but aren’t dependent on them  that are more to blame.

          • http://www.facebook.com/ed.hieronymus Paul Edward Hieronymus Jr

            Where I would point the finger at the religion would be if you go all the way back to the beginning of the religions in Ancient Egypt, I think one can see that the religion was mainly created to make the lower classes do incredible things like build the pyramids.  The religion was a wonderful tool for oppressing the lower classes.  Then the Hebrew people took the religion out of Egypt and added their own God to it.

            The first conception of The Bible, The J version, as discussed by Howard Bloom and David Rosenberg in their book The Book of J was mainly a literary work wherein the J author was attempting to tell a literary historical drama about her family.  Later Biblical authors found faults with her version for various reasons and some centuries later, towards the first centuries of our era, the Priestly schools became involved in the final versions of The Bible adding The Laws etc and their goal was basically to use religion as the Egyptians did to control the lower classes.

            A few centuries later, Constantine took the same religion and used it to transform The Roman Empire into the Catholic Church as he understood that it was a great method for keeping the lower classes in line.

            Come forward to the present day and anyone actually attempting to follow that stuff to the letter as American Protestant Fundamentalists do is unwittingly falling under the spell of that old slave religion conceived of by the Egyptians and Hebrews for controlling the lower classes, so they don’t proceed very far up the socio-ecomic ladder and many of the leaders of their churches, especially the mega churches, are actually the Modern Constantines.

            Anyway, that’s why I would put the blame specifically on the religion because in its pure form it’s a tool for keeping the lower classes in line (like the Hindu Caste System), and it’s still demonstrating that it does an effective job of it (possibly better, according to this data, than the Hindu system, at least in the US).

          • Guest

             I think you can pretty much just say plainly that the indoctrination that you are born into determines the likelihood of an individual being more open-minded or less open-minded. Which, in turn, affects the way a person learns new information or chooses to reject it, thus determining intelligence, which is probably why Jews make more money than Baptists, because Baptists are generally more socially conservative, because that is their interpretation of their religion. of an individual being more open-minded or less open-minded. Which, in turn, affects the way a person learns new information or chooses to reject it, thus determining intelligence, which is probably why Jews make more money than Baptists, because Baptists are generally more socially conservative, because that is their interpretation of their religion.

        • Rban

          No, not true. Muslims from India do very poorly in the UK compared to Hindu immigrants. It’s not aboput India or ‘Indian culture’, it is about the Hindu religion. 

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    The hindus in the US are the ones that had enough money to come over here at some point 

  • Inventingnothing

    The economic differences among the country’s various religions are strikingly large, much larger than the differences among states and even larger than those among racial groups. 
    I’m pretty sure this only reflects religious groups in the U.S. So in all actuality, I don’t know what your comment is trying to imply. If you were simply talking about “ethnic and class breakdown” solely within the U.S., I am not sure I understand the difference. The point of the article is not to say definitively that Religion A = Income X. The point of the article, and the findings of the study show that Religion A tends towards Income X. There is a large difference between “Equal/Proves/ ‘If/Then’ ” and “There is a strong correlation between A and X”. One indicates a cause/effect relationship, the other merely shows a trend but understands the impossibility of taking into account all other possible factors.

    You learn this in Statistics 101, and though I am not a statistician major, I have taken 4 stat class for my major, and this is something they pound into your head constantly. 

  • Hadrian999

    my point was that it shows much more about the cultures of different groups than it does about specific religions. Hindus doing well says more about the culture and work ethic of Indian immigrants than it does about Hinduism. religion is very much linked to social class in the USA, social class and cultural beliefs are a much bigger factor than religious observance

  • http://newdruidexpress.blogspot.com Symbollocks The Druid

    Did they control this thing for the misery factor?  The most obvious common denominator of all these religious communities is an anciliary characteristic which is not in the least related to their traditions’ spiritual or theological content:  These people’s lives have historically sucked sh*t.
     
    I think a useful hypothesis for consideration would be whether the success of these groups under the current free market paradigm has more to do with a high cultivated tolerance for misery than anything else.  Though the elaborate legalistic and hierarchical structures of their mythology may also be relevant.

  • http://newdruidexpress.blogspot.com Symbollocks The Druid

    Did they control this thing for the misery factor?  The most obvious common denominator of all these religious communities is an anciliary characteristic which is not in the least related to their traditions’ spiritual or theological content:  These people’s lives have historically sucked sh*t.
     
    I think a useful hypothesis for consideration would be whether the success of these groups under the current free market paradigm has more to do with a high cultivated tolerance for misery than anything else.  Though the elaborate legalistic and hierarchical structures of their mythology may also be relevant.

    • http://newdruidexpress.blogspot.com Symbollocks The Druid

      But as a P.S., in my case, my religion most definitely IS my destiny; the Mother Ship picks us up on December 21, 2012.  And that MO-FO is STACKED–wet bars with free, unlimited rail drinks and tappers, regularly scheduled orgies on the holodeck, etc., etc.  Just fuckin’ awesome A-Z. 

      I pity da rest o’ you suckahs.

  • http://newdruidexpress.blogspot.com Symbollocks The Druid

    But as a P.S., in my case, my religion most definitely IS my destiny; the Mother Ship picks us up on December 21, 2012.  And that MO-FO is STACKED–wet bars with free, unlimited rail drinks and tappers, regularly scheduled orgies on the holodeck, etc., etc.  Just fuckin’ awesome A-Z. 

    I pity da rest o’ you suckahs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ed.hieronymus Paul Edward Hieronymus Jr

    Well considering that one’s cultural beliefs and their social class stem from their religion, then it would seem that religion plays a large part.  There are many people working in the kitchens of McDonald and other fast food jobs as well as in many other low paying occupations whose life could really be improved if they would embrace the changes that someone like Obama would want to bring to their lives, but since they belief The Bible is the only book they need to know anything about, then they don’t care too much for improvements in the education system. They don’t want any improvements in health care because they believe Jesus is always just on the verge of returning soon and that he will bring them all Mansions and Cadillacs, and really they don’t want Obama to do anything for them at all except get out of the White House as they don’t trust Obama because of his skin color (and The Bible justifies that too).

    Due to these types of believes their families are always trapped at the low end of the economic spectrum.; however, many of their preachers tend to do alright.

  • Hadrian999

     you could get into a whole chicken and egg argument over the relations of religion and social class but my argument is that it is social class and not religion that effects the life path, if one decided to be hindu but was not raised by strict Indian parents the effects on earning potential and education level wouldn’t be there, the attitudes you mention spring more from baggage picked up by religious practice rather than the religion itself. you often see regional social practices added to religious ceremony or practice that really have no religious reason.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ed.hieronymus Paul Edward Hieronymus Jr

     Well if they’re adhering to the strict tenets of Fundamentalist Protestant Religion (and at least 70% of American Protestants are Fundamentalists)and their Fundamentalism tells them to act in the ways that they do that propagate their low status on the economic scale, then how is social class affecting their position?  It would seem that their social class is a direct outgrowth of their Fundamentalist religious practices.  If they weren’t following the tenets of their Fundamentalist religion, then they would be more willing to embrace things like better education and other things that would lead to an improvement of their social class.

  • Hadrian999

     it’s the question of what came from what, did their fundamentalist spring from their social class and regional culture or did their social class and regional culture spring from their religion?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ed.hieronymus Paul Edward Hieronymus Jr

     I think it could be like the Pine Folk up in New England that Lovecraft writes about in hi story “The Picture in the House” and “Beyond the Walls of Sleep” or the people in Appalachia.  At one point in time they were better off than they are now, but they held on to the religious beliefs that had then while the world progressed, and they’re obstinate so they’re still holding on to the religious beliefs that in a lot of ways keep (most of) them from making any real improvements in their lives.

    The article talks about how in other nations the Protestants have more than the Catholics, well I would think that would be because in a lot of those places (I’m thinking European type nations) the Protestantism was Progressive and more of a move towards Deism while American Protestantism ie. mainly Fundamentalism would be more regressive / repressive in as far as it would go in allowing its adherents to keep up with a changing world and various economic situations.

  • Hadrian999

     I agree with you I just don’t know if it is specifically religions or the environments and social circumstances that surround them, but aren’t dependent on them  that are more to blame.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ed.hieronymus Paul Edward Hieronymus Jr

    Where I would point the finger at the religion would be if you go all the way back to the beginning of the religions in Ancient Egypt, I think one can see that the religion was mainly created to make the lower classes do incredible things like build the pyramids.  The religion was a wonderful tool for oppressing the lower classes.  Then the Hebrew people took the religion out of Egypt and added their own God to it.

    The first conception of The Bible, The J version, as discussed by Howard Bloom and David Rosenberg in their book The Book of J was mainly a literary work wherein the J author was attempting to tell a literary historical drama about her family.  Later Biblical authors found faults with her version for varios reasons and some centuries later, towards the first centuries of our era, the Priestly schools became involved in the final versions of The Bible adding The Laws etc and their goal was basically to use religion as the Egyptians did to control the lower classes.

    A few centuries later, Constantine took the same religion and used it to transform The Roman Empire to the Catholic Church as he understood that it was a great method for keeping the lower classes in line.

    Come forward to the present day and anyone actually attempting to follow that stuff to the letter as American Protestant Fundamentalists do is unwittingly falling under the prey of that old slave religion conceived of by the Egyptians and Hebrews for controlling the lower classes, so they don’t proceed very far up the socio-ecoomic ladder and many of the leaders of their churches, especially the mega churches, are actually the Modern Constantines.

    Any way, that’s why I would put the blame speifically on the religion because in its pure form it’s a tool for keeping the lower classes in line (like the Hindu Caste System), and it’s still demonstrating that it does an effective job of it (possibly better, according to this data, than the Hindu system, at least in the US).

  • killjoy

    Ok, so that doesn’t take into account all the people who get rich off of Satanism. More people are rich by selling their soul to SATAN than anything else.  

  • killjoy

    Ok, so that doesn’t take into account all the people who get rich off of Satanism. More people are rich by selling their soul to SATAN than anything else.  

  • Guest

     I think you can pretty much just say plainly that the indoctrination that you are born into determines the likelihood of an individual being more open-minded or less open-minded. Which, in turn, affects the way a person learns new information or chooses to reject it, thus determining intelligence, which is probably why Jews make more money than Baptists, because Baptists are generally more socially conservative, because that is their interpretation of their religion. of an individual being more open-minded or less open-minded. Which, in turn, affects the way a person learns new information or chooses to reject it, thus determining intelligence, which is probably why Jews make more money than Baptists, because Baptists are generally more socially conservative, because that is their interpretation of their religion.

  • Guest

     I think you can pretty much just say plainly that the indoctrination that you are born into determines the likelihood of an individual being more open-minded or less open-minded. Which, in turn, affects the way a person learns new information or chooses to reject it, thus determining intelligence, which is probably why Jews make more money than Baptists, because Baptists are generally more socially conservative, because that is their interpretation of their religion. of an individual being more open-minded or less open-minded. Which, in turn, affects the way a person learns new information or chooses to reject it, thus determining intelligence, which is probably why Jews make more money than Baptists, because Baptists are generally more socially conservative, because that is their interpretation of their religion.

  • Rban

    No, not true. Muslims from India do very poorly in the UK compared to Hindu immigrants. It’s not aboput India or ‘Indian culture’, it is about the Hindu religion. 

  • Rban

    No, not true. Muslims from India do very poorly in the UK compared to Hindu immigrants. It’s not aboput India or ‘Indian culture’, it is about the Hindu religion. 

  • canhindu dot com

    I think the biggest proof that education, income, and achievement is linked to RELIGION is provided by Indian immigrants. Besides the US example, in Britain HIndu immigrants have incomes above the average UK income, while Indian Muslims eran less. AND Pakistani/ Bangaldesh Muslims make EVEN less than the Indian Muslims!

    Also the Hindu majority nation of INDIA is richer and more developed than the Islamic failed state of Pakistan (and Muslim Bangladesh as well). And India’s Muslims have lower incomes within India than Hindus as well!

    It is clear. The more Hindu you are, the better you are; the more Muslim you are, the more inferior. Cue the spin-meisters, ‘anti-racists’, and multiculturalist one worlders now who will scream and complain and attack me just for pointing out the uncomfortable truth.

    The Emperor is naked but shhhhhh. No one is allowed to say it.

  • canhindu dot com

    I think the biggest proof that education, income, and achievement is linked to RELIGION is provided by Indian immigrants. Besides the US example, in Britain HIndu immigrants have incomes above the average UK income, while Indian Muslims eran less. AND Pakistani/ Bangaldesh Muslims make EVEN less than the Indian Muslims!

    Also the Hindu majority nation of INDIA is richer and more developed than the Islamic failed state of Pakistan (and Muslim Bangladesh as well). And India’s Muslims have lower incomes within India than Hindus as well!

    It is clear. The more Hindu you are, the better you are; the more Muslim you are, the more inferior. Cue the spin-meisters, ‘anti-racists’, and multiculturalist one worlders now who will scream and complain and attack me just for pointing out the uncomfortable truth.

    The Emperor is naked but shhhhhh. No one is allowed to say it.

  • canhindu dot com

    I think the biggest proof that education, income, and achievement is linked to RELIGION is provided by Indian immigrants. Besides the US example, in Britain HIndu immigrants have incomes above the average UK income, while Indian Muslims eran less. AND Pakistani/ Bangaldesh Muslims make EVEN less than the Indian Muslims!

    Also the Hindu majority nation of INDIA is richer and more developed than the Islamic failed state of Pakistan (and Muslim Bangladesh as well). And India’s Muslims have lower incomes within India than Hindus as well!

    It is clear. The more Hindu you are, the better you are; the more Muslim you are, the more inferior. Cue the spin-meisters, ‘anti-racists’, and multiculturalist one worlders now who will scream and complain and attack me just for pointing out the uncomfortable truth.

    The Emperor is naked but shhhhhh. No one is allowed to say it.

  • canadian hindu advocacy

    Right. And you can say the same about Chinese, But they make less money than white folks.  

  • canadian hindu advocacy

    Right. And you can say the same about Chinese, But they make less money than white folks.