Wednesday, June 15, 2005

God and money

At first, I thought this article from USNews.com would be just a puff piece on faith and/in the market, but it turns out to have an interesting point:
religious participation is highest in those places where there is a high density of people sharing the same religious preferences; and second, that for those who are part of it, this 'higher market density' leads to all sorts of good things according to key economic indicators such as income, levels of education, dependence on welfare, and marriage and divorce statistics.

So when people live around people who are members of the same Christian denomination, for example, economic indicators rise. That ought to be good news for somewhere like North Dakota or Utah, where overwhelming majorities belong to the same faith.

Ah, but there's a twist:
The positive effects of living around a lot of people who share your religion are offset if most of those people belong to the same ethnic group. In other words, Italian Catholics go to church more often and do better economically if they live in an area where there are not just Italians but other ethnic groups—Poles or Irish, say—that share the Catholic faith.

What that suggests about the ties bind us—and the ones that boost us—is provocative indeed.

Indeed.

1 Comments:
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