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… is a ridiculously audacious title for the post it introduces.

Anyway, previously, Dan commented:

Poor inner city people go to church more than everyone else, and they theoretically believe in marriage. But they don’t believe in losing the government checks.

Having read Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, that assertion struck me as inaccurate, with the caveat in mind that, as Murray did through most of The Bell Curve, so as to avoid racial confounding, the relevant research includes only whites. I did a quick check of the GSS, confirming what Murray found–affluent people from rural and suburban areas go to church more than poor urban folks do.

However, Dan correctly pointed out that blacks attend worship services at significantly higher rates than whites do.

I ran the same GSS test, this time for whites exclusively and for blacks exclusively and found the same patterns for both racial groups–wealthy suburban and rural blacks go to church more than poor inner-city blacks do, and wealthy suburban and rural whites attend more than poor inner-city whites do. The rub is that poor urban blacks still attend more than wealthy suburban and rural whites do. Here are the averages. The higher the figure, the more frequently the group attends worship services (n = 2,468, one SD = 2.76):

Group Attend
Wealthy country blacks 5.64
Poor urban blacks 4.12
Wealthy country whites 3.59
Poor urban whites 3.24

The “wealthy country blacks” row is only comprised of 23 respondents, so take it with caution, but the overall results pass the smell test.

If Dan’s in error, it is in the assumption that urban poor = black. While the urban poor are far more likely to be black than the rest of the country is, in absolute terms I don’t think blacks comprise an absolute majority of the country’s poor city dwellers. As an empirical question, it’s tough to get a straight answer because the definitions of “urban” and “poor” aren’t standardized, with the idea of “urban” being a lot more expansive at the US Census office than the idea of “ghetto” is in the vernacular.

GSS variables used: RES16(1-4)(6), REALINC(0-30000)(100000-999999), YEAR(2000-2010), ATTEND, RACECEN1(1)(2)

(Republished from The Audacious Epigone by permission of author or representative)
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  1. However, Dan correctly pointed out that blacks attend worship services at significantly higher rates than whites do.

    How does this fit with what Steve Sailer noted regarding the stunning gender disparity among blacks? I mean, women are more likely to attend, and adult blacks are more likely to be women.

    I know that sample sizes are small already, but it seems possible that this is simply an artifact of the adult black gender ratio. So all we are seeing is the same old thing, women are more likely to attend.

  2. Dan says:

    Church is a major center of life for most American blacks. This is one reason why Barack Obama is so anomalous.

    Go to 'percentage of income by household' and remember that most giving is to one's church. Then zoom around by zip code.

    As for urban poor and race, I can speak best about my own hometown of DC and here the urban poor are overwhelmingly black. In DC, the white part of the city is the western part (Northwest, Georgetown) and it is very, very wealthy. The gap is very large.

    Poor whites rarely live in DC because they cannot afford the extremely expensive housing of Northwest and Georgetown and the 'affordable' urban neighbors are crime-ridden and heavily minority.

    Have a look at the above, at any city you like and especially compare with income (available on the first link). The poor urban neighborhoods are usually 90-100% black while the rich urban neighborhoods are overwhelmingly white.

    From what I know, poor whites are overwhelmingly rural (think West Virginia) while poor blacks overwhelmingly urban (think Detroit, Baltimore, Philly, Harlem and the Brooklyn, Chicago, Oakland, etc). More prosperous blacks live in the suburbs.

    Spend an hour or two on the NYT census map as I did. You will learn a lot.

    Rural areas are overwhelmingly white and often poor. Where white sections of cities are found they are almost always wealthy neighborhoods. Poor whites surely do not live in uber wealthy Georgetown and Northwest DC and they are not showing up on the census map in the poor urban neighborhoods at all.

  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    DC is such an outlier. AE already noted that 10% of DC self reports as gay. That is no where near the national average. DC also has no visible means of support yet has the highest incomes in the US. DC just does not look like America. How about Mississippi? or Detroit? Those are real blacks there, I tell you.

  4. Silly Girl,

    From 2008-2012, mean ATTEND score (higher = more frequent attendance, SD = 2.79):

    White men — 3.14
    White women — 3.60
    Black men — 3.61
    Black women — 4.81

    The heavier female skew among free blacks pulls the race's overall numbers up, though it's not the entire story.

  5. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The heavier female skew among free blacks pulls the race's overall numbers up, though it's not the entire story.

    Indeed. The publishers of the MMPI noted that blacks are more likely to lie on self reported data to make themselves look better. I don't remember exactly where I read that. It has been a few years. I posted it to Iductivist's blog at the time. Inductivist also noted that blacks consistently overrate themselves. Like more than half of blacks said they were 8-10 on a ten point attractiveness scale. Given their very high obesity rates, I mean you just have to laugh. It just plain Dunning-Kruger. Look I have seen that GSS question. So, I figure that the white person who is border line between answering 3 or 4 is going to underrate and the black person will overrate. I mean it is a toss up really but the black will round up in his favor. This isn't grossly disingenuous but it shows up on stuff like this that isn't super detailed. Also, whites generally have a bazillion interests from garden club to kids sports to D&D, model railroading, running, you name it. Blacks, not so much. They just don't have as many things competing for their time. So, the white suburban churchgoer might go to church more often but he can't because he has five other civic organizations he spends time on.

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