… 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):
|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)