HBD: Human Biodiversity

Is Your Religion Your Financial Destiny?

The short answer is no.

The New York Times thinks it’s on to something in promoting a Pew study that, at first glance, demonstrates that the “economic differences among the country’s various religions are strikingly large, much larger than the differences among states and even larger than those among racial groups.”


The reality is that “religious” differences largely track the racial-and-IQ spectrum that organs like the New York Times don’t like to talk about.

First off, the “Hindu” sample is so selective it should probably be thrown out. In Race Differences in Intelligence, Richard Lynn demonstrates that IQ on the Indian subcontinent covers a very wide bell curve; this results mostly from the great racial heterogeneity of the Indian people (or rather peoples), whose elite displays the characteristics—and intelligence—of their Aryan ancestors. Those who make it all the way to America on a H-1B visas are, no doubt, the crème de la crème.

Going down the list, we see that Ashkenazi Jews are wealthy. No surprise here.

The Times also wants to believe that Max Weber’s famous thesis in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904) has been disproved by the Pew center’s data:

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.

Again, no. The mainline Protestant denominations that once composed the WASP elite, and are still overwhelmingly Northern European in makeup, are wealthier than Catholics. Episcopalians are just below Jews (and Hindus). The Protestant denominations that fall below the poverty line are the Baptists and Pentecostals, which attract rural Whites and Blacks; the latter, no doubt, has a great effect in bringing down the average.

Moreover, as the Pew Center’s 2010 report showed, as Hispanics remain in America, they generally lose their Catholic faith and become either more secular or evangelical. This coincides with the much-noted tendency of generations of Hispanics to become more socially dysfunctional as they spend more time in America (“downward assimilation”). This trend certainly puts downward pressure on the less WASPy Protestant denominations.

Overall, it’s difficult to get a read on the socioeconomic status of White Catholics, since somewhere on the order of a quarter to a third of Catholics in America are Hispanic.