Sunday, May 22, 2011

Economics, Education, and Religious affiliation

by Salman Hameed

A week ago, the NYT had this chart plotting household income for various religious groups in the US:

Muslims in the US are close to the national average. I don't have numbers handy, but I think in Europe, Muslim income is well below average. Can certain religious practices (both good and bad) be responsible for this discrepancy between household incomes of these various religious groups? Probably not - though it may be true for smaller religious groups, such as Jehovah's Witnesses (their apocalyptic worldview may have some influence). But it seems that education, and not religion, is the key factor:
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.
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.
There are of course other factors as well - but I thought that the graph is an interesting way of looking at the US population. Read the full article here


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