So I Poked Around, About Family Demographics . . .

25 03 2008

. . .and I found a new university research report headed, “Conservative Protestants’ Religious Beliefs Contribute to Their Low Wealth, Duke Study Shows”.

Don’t ask me what I think it means yet, I haven’t even read the study, just the official news release. The first question that popped into my head wasn’t one I’m eager to explore: does this sociology correlate to the data Dana just cited, and provide evidence that poor and poorly educated moms with many children not only are significantly more prone to child abuse, but also more prone to homeschooling — and if so, can credible correlation of religion with homeschooling and religious homeschooling with child abuse be much further ahead than the next demographic corner? [shudder]

On the upside, it sure opens up “the” meaning of family values . . .




9 responses

25 03 2008

I think the research I cited is in reference to the classic profile of the “welfare mom” who leaves home early, has many children with many different fathers and is on Welfare. I do not think it can so easily be compared to the religious who believe in larger family size, because the family size that is the cause of the abuse, but the impoverished situations these mothers are in, leading both to a high birth rate and a high abuse rate.

Curious about the economic thing, but on the surface, it does not surprise me. After all, I do not work, a choice many Protestant women make. So long as it is there choice, and they are not burdening anyone with this decision, the chasing of this kind of thinking is a little unsettling. After all, there was a time I seriously considered a career in teaching. Should I have been dissuaded because my earning potential would have been greater in another field?

I don’t like the simplifying of the human experience to solely materialistic measures. And if some, d[ue] to religion, choose not to build earthly wealth, but seek other things, I can hardly cast any disfavor upon that.

(I have not looked at it at all yet, only this entry, so my thoughts may be wholly irrelevant.)

25 03 2008

LOL – if your thoughts may as yet be uninformed and irrelevant, that would make two of us . . .but the solution to that is just to keep inquiring and informing ourselves, right?

25 03 2008

I think we can play connect-the-dots only so much before we completely lose touch with reality. :p There are contributive factors for every behavior or situation under the sun, but finding causative factors…? Demographics can give us some information, but I really hate seeing statistics being used to make policy decisions.

I read the report, and while I can’t speak for all practicing Christians, Biblically speaking, wealth is not considered evil, but the ruthless pursuit of wealth.

Also- “Some people have just decided that saving money in my own bank account isn’t what they want,” she said, noting that conservative Protestants are among the most generous contributors to churches and related organizations. “Some people are consciously deciding to do other things with their wealth.” The percentage of charities are founded and funded by religious organizations would be interesting to find out. It is considered more virtuous to give to the poor, and to give sacrificially, than to accumulate for oneself.

The Bible also teaches that one should provide for one’s own house, including elderly parents, and especially widows and the fatherless. If that means I don’t live in a 4,000 sq. ft. house and go to the Bahamas every summer, then that’s my choice, isn’t it? If I am not using the police power of the state to take from others to fund my needs and wants, what business is it of anyone else’s whether I am wealthy or live modestly?

I saw this comment at Joanne Jacobs’ blog entry “Learning Starts at Home”- by superdestroyer

Even if a college educated parent says it is not about the money, the long run is still about the money. That stay at home parent is not adding to a 401K, is not paying for health insurance, and it not saving for the children’s college education. Even though there are government mandates that offset some of the opportunity costs, they do not make up for all of them.

If homeschooling is going to sold as a great alternative instead of just another alternative, then all of the costs should be included. That home teachers could be lowering their standard of living in their old age, making themselves more vulnerable to divorce or illness, and saving less in order to educated their children. Where is the risk management is that?

So now one income home educators are financially irresponsible because they aren’t saving enough for retirement and college? And we are also more prone to sickness and divorce? Where’s the research study for that conclusion? 😉

25 03 2008

Sunniemom, were there any definitions for the purpose of the study given, that you saw? “Wealth” and “poor” for example are wildly subjective and easily misunderstood between people who THINK they are using it to mean the same thing, whereas demographic studies that divide “family income” or “net worth” into say, ranked quintiles are maybe less so . . .

25 03 2008

In the introduction to the study- “The relationship between cultural orientation and material well-being is central to research in sociology, and concern about this relationship has fueled decades of intense debate regarding the material consequences of religious values”. It seems to me that they are defining ‘wealth’ as asset ownership, not as amount of income.

“I propose that limited educational attainment, early fertility, large family size, and low rates of female labor force participation are important demographic contributors to low CP wealth.”(CP=Conservative Protestant) She does take into account that bearing children early and often is due to CPs marrying younger than the general population, which also accounts for the higher rate of SAHMs.

27 03 2008
JJ Ross

Daryl has fresh fodder of unfortunate family demographics as “education” news today, see “Oh! My! God!”

29 03 2008
Crimson Wife

I read the study, and it’s my opinion that the author has the causation backwards. She’s arguing that folks are less affluent/educated/etc. because they’re Evangelicals. It’s been my experience that people are Evangelicals because they’re less affluent/educated/etc.

I grew up in an affluent suburb and didn’t know a single Evangelical. All the Protestants of my acquaintance were either Episcopalian or Congregationalist. Then when my DH served in the Army and I was suddenly among working class folks, almost all the Protestants were Evangelicals. I only met a handful of mainline ones and they were all officers.

29 03 2008

CW, does she actually argue causation from these data? In either direction? I was wondering about that when I first saw the item. . .

Or was it a correlative report and causation conclusions were just sort of for readers to infer?

29 03 2008
Crimson Wife

I couldn’t really understand how the author tried to control for confounding factors such as parental SES, geographical region, etc. I’m not familiar enough with statistics in order to evaluate the soundness of her model.

She argues that it’s Evangelicals’ attitudes about money and wealth stemming from their interpretation of the Bible that cause a lower net worth. Things like “money is the root of all evil”, “you cannot serve both God and Mammon”, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven”, etc. Also their greater level of tithing and charitable giving, again stemming from their reading of Scripture.

The argument she made that really didn’t make sense to me has to do with people who were raised in one faith and are now something else as adults. Those who were raised Evangelical but left as adults have a lower net worth than those who were raised something else but became Evangelical as an adult. She claims that proves the direction of causation goes religion -> wealth but I would see it as simply confirming that childhood SES influences adult wealth.

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