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Purpose – Previous studies have found that, for those born after 1960, individuals raised with no religious affiliation were less likely than any other religious group to…
Purpose – Previous studies have found that, for those born after 1960, individuals raised with no religious affiliation were less likely than any other religious group to complete a college degree. This finding is surprising in light of the increasing educational attainment of the American public, as well as the finding that declining religious belief is often presumed to accompany higher education. In this chapter, we explore the changing relationship between religious nonaffiliation and educational attainment for Americans over the past three decades.
Methodology – In order to disentangle the mechanisms behind this relationship, we consider the heterogeneity of nonaffiliates and examine educational attainment for three types of religious “nones.” Using the General Social Survey (1972–2008), we look for cohort differences in attaining a bachelor's degree among persistent nones, disaffiliates, and adult affiliates.
Findings – While being raised in no religious tradition was once predictive of higher odds of completing a college degree, the positive relationship between being raised a religious none and college completion has reversed itself in the past 30 years. Instead, for individuals born after 1960, being raised in no religious tradition is actually associated with lower odds of completing a 4-year college degree relative to adults who were raised in any religious tradition and continue to claim a religious identity in adulthood. This effect is particularly pronounced for adults who maintain no religious identity throughout the life course.
Social implications – We propose some explanations for this finding, with a particular emphasis on the potential significance of religious social networks in adolescence.
Purpose – In this chapter, we advance research on the socioeconomic ranking of religious groups by using both income and wealth to document the rankings of the six major…
Purpose – In this chapter, we advance research on the socioeconomic ranking of religious groups by using both income and wealth to document the rankings of the six major religious groups in the United States – Jews, Catholics, mainline Protestants, evangelical Protestants, black Protestants, and the religiously unaffiliated – during 2001–2007, a period marked by both catastrophic economic losses and widespread economic gain.
Design/Methodology/Approach – Drawing from the Panel Study on Income Dynamics (PSID), we provide descriptive statistics to explore the socioeconomic differences among the six major religious groups. In addition, we note their ownership rates and changes in wealth and income during 2001–2007.
Findings – Overall, these findings point to enduring stratification in the U.S. religious landscape. Based on median net worth, leading into the Great Recession, the six major religious groups ranked in the following order: Jews, Catholics, mainline Protestants, evangelical Protestants, the unaffiliated, and black Protestants. At the same time, these findings point to the upward mobility of white Catholics, who increased their income and made the greatest increase in net worth between 2001 and 2007. These data also suggest a decline in the socioeconomic status of the religiously unaffiliated as compared to previous studies.
Research implications – These findings illustrate the degree to which certain religious groups have access to wealth and other resources, and have implications for how the years leading into the Great Recession may have influenced households’ vulnerability to financial shocks.
Originality/Value – We use both income and wealth to examine whether different religious groups experienced any changes in income and wealth leading into the 2008 economic downturn.
The association between religion and material well-being is fundamental to research on inequality and stratification. Broadly considered, this association includes questions about how religious affiliation and religiosity are associated with work behaviors, education, income, wealth, and related family processes. Early social sciences debated if and how these traits and outcomes are related and offered important insight into the mechanisms that might explain empirical patterns (Simmel, 1997; Sombart, 1911; Weber, 1905/1930). However, the religious landscape and the mechanisms creating religion and well-being have both changed dramatically since the early days of the social sciences. The proliferation of Protestant denominations, the changing role of Catholics, and the increased presence of other religious traditions are beyond the scope of these early works. Moreover, the relationship between religion and stratification is no longer a function of large-scale shifts in the mode of production but rather reflects changing individual and group approaches to human capital, work, and saving. In the 1960s, sociologists revived these debates, but empirical challenges and a narrowing of the discussion to focus on Protestant–Catholic differences weakened and ultimately ended the literature's momentum (Broom & Glenn, 1966; Glenn & Hyland, 1967; Laumann, 1969; Lazerwitz & Rowitz, 1964; Lenski, 1961).
The purpose of this paper is to examine wealth dynamics through the Great Recession along a dimension previously not studied, religious affiliation. Specifically, this…
The purpose of this paper is to examine wealth dynamics through the Great Recession along a dimension previously not studied, religious affiliation. Specifically, this paper analyzes wealth differentials and relative wealth losses among religious groups at the mean and along the wealth distribution before and after the Great Recession.
Drawing on data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and including a wide array of control variables, the paper analyzes the impact of religious affiliation groups on wealth pre- and post-Recession, using OLS, generalized least squares and quantile regression models.
The findings show that wealth differentials among religious groups exist both before and after the Recession and that wealth disparities are greater for people at the low end of the wealth distribution, who lost disproportionately more wealth across religious groups.
The results suggest that the Great Recession further increased wealth inequality yet along another dimension, religious affiliation. These findings imply that in order to decrease wealth inequality and minimize other harmful effects of adverse macroeconomic events, religious institutions may provide education on financial management strategies, especially to those at the low end of the wealth distribution.
This paper is the first of its kind to build upon two bodies of literature: the research on religion and wealth and the research on wealth losses and the Great Recession. It is also the first paper to explore the religion–wealth relationship after the Great Recession and along the wealth distribution.
Purpose – Conservative Protestantism is conceptualized as a cultural framework influencing class formation and transmission in the United States.…
Purpose – Conservative Protestantism is conceptualized as a cultural framework influencing class formation and transmission in the United States.
Design/Methodology/Approach – The framework is tested using Public-Use Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), Waves I, III, and IV. Four key outcomes – educational attainment, earnings, marriage, and parenting – are modeled as functions of class background and religious affiliation, controlling for other factors.
Findings – Religious affiliation and their effects on the normative pathways to adulthood help explain differential social mobility and the imperfect transmission of social class across generations. Religious culture plays an independent role in producing lower adult attainment via the life choices of conservative Protestant youth during the transition to adulthood.
Research limitations/Implications – This study is limited by the final age range (24–32 years) of the sample in Wave IV.
Originality/Value – Contributes to literature on conservative Protestants' educational attainment and labor force participation by charting the educational and income achievement of youth from varying class origins and identifying how childhood class location and childhood religious affiliation interact to affect adult socioeconomic status.
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.
Purpose – This chapter analyzes the ways that gender expectations shape the process of ethnic Jewish identity construction.Methodology – I spent approximately 18 months…
Purpose – This chapter analyzes the ways that gender expectations shape the process of ethnic Jewish identity construction.
Methodology – I spent approximately 18 months conducting participant-observation with Shalom, an independent social group comprised of young adult (primarily secular) Jews, whose mission was to facilitate a “cohesive Jewish community.” I then conducted 25 in-depth interviews with group members.
Findings – My data suggest that Shalom's negotiation of Jewish identity was actually a negotiation of Jewish male identity and Jewish female identity, with the assumption of heterosexuality in both constructs. Often using language reflecting gender-coded anti-Semitic stereotypes, members of Shalom constructed Jewish identity in ways intimately intertwined with their perceptions of “typical” Jewish men and “typical” Jewish women.
Research limitations/implications – Further empirical studies of the gendered construction of ethnic identity in the United States (particularly among more recent “white” immigrant groups like Greeks, Eastern Europeans, and Middle Easterners) could help illuminate the ways gender concerns influence efforts to move to the cultural center by those situated at the cultural margins.
Originality/value of chapter – Published accounts of the intersectionality of identities have been either largely theoretical in nature or comprised of personal identity narratives. However, there has been little systematic, empirical study of the interactional processes that shape the identities produced through the simultaneous doing of both gender and race/ethnicity.