To read this content please select one of the options below:

Parental Religiosity and Children's Educational Attainment in the United States

Religion, Work and Inequality

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

Publication date: 23 April 2012


Purpose – This chapter proposes a new model to explain how increased religiosity among children leads to higher eventual educational attainment; it does so by focusing upon the unique role that parental religiosity plays in this process – this intergenerational dimension has been neglected in previous research on the topic.

Design/Methodology/Approach – Using NLSY97 data, employing regression techniques, and incorporating information on parental religious behaviors, this chapter tests whether parental religiosity only matters because it transmits religiosity to children, and once children become religious themselves, parental religiosity becomes a redundant resource – or it has a powerful independent effect net of this socialization process.

Finding – Results generally support the parental religiosity theory, where parental religious service attendance uniquely produces positive educational effects, even net of religious socialization ones. Religious affiliation differences are generally minor. Additional models also provide evidence that parental religiosity and adolescent education are not related via some omitted variable.

Research limitations/Implications – Under this new perspective, children's educational attainment can rise, even if children are not religious themselves, because parental religiosity can promote parental behaviors conducive to children's schooling.

Originality/Value – Overall, parental religiosity deserves renewed attention as a cultural basis for inequality in the United States today.



Eirich, G.M. (2012), "Parental Religiosity and Children's Educational Attainment in the United States", 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. 153-181.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited