Here are some fun tools for viewing, parsing, comparing, and visualizing the data of a recent study done by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. There’s been some discussion around the blogosphere about the results, mostly regarding what they say about atheism, the number of secular people, and the rates at which people are leaving religious traditions. The really interesting thing about the afore links tools, though, in my opinion, is the opportunity to compare demographics across religions. So, for example, I decided to compare my group, Jews, against the group I sometimes think of as The Enemy: Evangelical Christians.* I learned that, on average, evangelicals are a significantly poorer and less educated than Jews. Just 3% of Jewish adults haven’t finished high school, compared to 16% of Evangelical adults, and 59% of Jews have a college degree or higher, compared to 20% of Evangelicals. Thirty-four percent of Evangelical adults make less than $30,000 a year, with 14% of Jews making the same, and 24% of Evangelicals make $75,000 or more, while 58% of Jews are in that income range.
Now, I can’t say I was that surprised to see that so many Jews get graduate degrees, stereotypes being what they are. The survey doesn’t contain any info about political beliefs, but if stereotypes will continue to serve us well, we can guess that, on average, Jews are significantly more progressive than Evangelicals.** Obviously, it’s no coincidence that the educated group is more progressive. That softens me a little to Evangelicals; it makes it seem more like they’re basically being taken advantage of by their leaders, to me, especially given that they’re comparatively poor. It’s abundantly clear that progressive policies are in the best interest of the poor, yet Republicans con them into opposing their own well-being via “God, Guns, and Gays” issues. Blah.
Anyway, I’m sure there are a lot of other interesting ways to breakdown those numbers. Explore.
** Especially given that the research chooses to separate Evangelical churches from “mainline Protestant churches,” and that it reports that 41% of Jews are Reform.
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