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Religion and Wealth Across Generations

Religion, Work and Inequality

ISBN: 978-1-78052-346-0, eISBN: 978-1-78052-347-7

Publication date: 23 April 2012


Purpose – This chapter explores the relationship between religious affiliation and wealth ownership focusing on generational differences.

Methodology – I use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Health and Retirement Study to create descriptive statistics and regression analyses of the association between religious affiliation in childhood and adulthood for people of two cohorts.

Findings – This chapter shows that there are important patterns by religious affiliation in total net worth, real assets, and asset allocation across generations. My findings are consistent with past work on religion and wealth ownership showing that Jews, mainline Protestants, and white Catholics tend to have higher total wealth than other groups. In addition, I find that black Protestants, Hispanic Catholics, and conservative Protestants tend to have relatively low wealth, consistent with research on religion, race/ethnicity, and wealth. My findings also show that these patterns are relatively robust across generations.

Research implications – The findings are relevant to research on inequality, wealth accumulation and saving, life course processes, and the effect of religion on stratification outcomes.

Originality/Value – This research shows how religious affiliation and wealth are related across generations.



Keister, L.A. (2012), "Religion and Wealth Across Generations", Keister, L.A., Mccarthy, J. and Finke, R. (Ed.) Religion, Work and Inequality (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 131-150.



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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited