Does Your Religion Affect Your Income?
By Mari Cockerell, KTXS News
ABILENE, Texas -- The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently put out the results of a survey on wealth and religion in the United States.
You may be surprised to learn which religious groups in this country have the most and the least wealthy members.An infographic produced by the folks at www.good.is breaks down information gathered by the Pew Forum on religion and wealth. It maps out distribution of income for the 14 major religious groups in this country, charting those whose income is less than $30,000 a year all the way up to $100,000+.
What they found is interesting.The religions whose members earn the most money are Jews and Hindus. Hindus top the charts with a combined 65 percent of its members earning at least $75,000 a year. Jews come in second with a combined 58 percent.We talked to Christopher Hutson, associate dean of ACU's College of Biblical Studies, and asked if any religious doctrine actually teaches its members how to earn more money.
Hutson did find one common denominator among these two high-earning groups."In America, about 40 percent of Hindu people in America have a graduate degree beyond a bachelor's degree, that's an astonishing percentage. For whatever reason, Jewish people in America tend to have put more emphasis on education and have a high percentage of post graduate degrees and that is reflected in higher affluence," said Hutson.Education appears to be a strong common thread between Hindus and Jews. Hutson points out it may also play a major role on the other end of the spectrum
.According to this study, the religions with members earning the least amount of money are historically Black Christian churches and Jehovah's Witnesses. Just 15 percent of members of historically Black churches make $75,000 or more per year, which, as Hutson adds, may have a lot to do with the opportunities available to African Americans."We're still living with a long legacy of 400 years of pretty severe racism. We're not really past it yet, and there's still catch up to do," Hutson said.
Only 18 percent of Jehovah's Witnesses make more than $75,000 a year. Taking a closer look at the numbers, the Pew Forum also found that more than half – 51 percent of Jehovah's Witnesses are non-white – and only 9 percent of its members have a college or post graduate degree.
We contacted the local kingdom hall of Jehovah's Witnesses for comment but received no response.
The remaining American Christian churches make up 4 of the 14 categories surveyed. Together, members earnings are in line with the national average – just over 31 percent earning $75,000 or more a year.