My grandparents were Presbyterians, my mother was Presbyterian, I joined the Presbyterian church when I was 12-years-old and two of my three children were brought up in the Presbyterian church. Perhaps, we are all "born" into our religion and few evolve to different spirituality beliefs as they mature.
The economic differences among this country’s various religions are strikingly large, much larger than the differences among states and even larger than those among racial groups.
The most affluent of the major religions — including secularism — is Reform Judaism. Sixty-seven percent of Reform Jewish households made more than $75,000 a year at the time the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life collected the data, compared with only 31 percent of the population as a whole. Hindus were second, at 65 percent, and Conservative Jews were third, at 57 percent.
On the other end are Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Baptists. In each case, 20 percent or fewer of followers made at least $75,000. Remarkably, the share of Baptist households making $40,000 or less is roughly the same as the share of Reform Jews making $100,000 or more. Overall, Protestants, who together are the country’s largest religious group, are poorer than average and poorer than Catholics. That stands in contrast to the long history, made famous by Max Weber, of Protestant nations generally being richer than Catholic nations.
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 a religion graph. Social science rarely produces results this clean.
Some of the income differences probably stem from culture. Some faiths place great importance on formal education. But the differences are also self-reinforcing. People who make more money can send their children to better schools, exacerbating the many advantages they have over poorer children.
Source: The New York Times Magazine, May 15, 2011