Google News “Spotlight” popped up a NY Times article today that asked in it’s title: “Is Your Religion Your Financial Destiny?”
According to the article, the most affluent of the major religions, including secularism, is Reform Judaism. What’s more, 67% of Reform Jewish households made more than $75k per year. Hindus and Conservative Jews take the #2 and 3 spots.
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. 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.
While I’m not sure religious belief has anything to do with the income discrepancy between religions, it’s clearly due to the values placed in each culture (because let’s face it, in America, for many of us, religions is our culture — even if we’re not religious.)
In other families – perhaps other non Jewish families – money wasn’t the considered the most important definition of success. I couldn’t choose not to go to college, nor could I choose to be satisfied in a lower-wage position when I knew the only thing stopping me from upward mobility would be myself, and myself being a coward. But, given I was able to go to college and graduate with no debt, the bravery had a cushion behind it at all times.
The article points out that “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. Round and round, the cycle goes. It won’t solve itself.”