Social Correlates of Religion

Religious persuasion seems to relate to political persuasion. Jews and Catholics are more likely to be Democrats than are Protestants. Likewise, Jews tend to be more liberal than Catholics, who tend to be more liberal than Protestants. Membership of religious organizations also correlates positively with socioeconomic status. Baptists tend to be comparatively poor, whereas Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Jews tend to be wealthy. And Catholics, on average, have higher income than comparable members of Protestant denominations do. However, these generalizations are just that: general statements. You must interpret statistics with caution. For example, some of the poorest people in the United States belong to the Roman Catholic church, and considerable differences exist among members of the Protestant churches. Some of the wealthiest people now belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the “Mormons”).
The vast majority of Americans—around 95 percent—say they have some form of religious beliefs: in God, heaven, the divine inspiration of Scriptures, and so on. Whereas 70 percent of Americans belong to religious organizations, only about 40 percent claim to attend weekly synagogue or church services. People in upper social groups, on average, attend church more regularly than those in other social groups. Similarly, Catholics, on average, attend church more regularly than Protestants. Members who actually attend services tend to actively participate within their congregations.
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