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Socioeconomic Inequality in the American Religious System: An Update and Assessment

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American sociology has long documented and theorized persistent inequalities between religious communities in the United States; in addition, socioeconomic inequalities between religious groups have played an important role in many sociological theories about religion and society. Since the publication of numerous important works published in the mid-20th century, however, the social stratification of American religion has been a curiously understudied topic. This research note is an attempt to update our descriptive knowledge about socioeconomic inequalities between American religious groups. Using General Social Survey data to track educational, income, and job status inequality over a 16-year period, from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, we find that socioeconomic inequality in the American religious system has been quite persistent and stable, suggesting that significant mobility within this system in the mid-20th century may be declining, thus producing a more stable system of stratification.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Christian Smith is Professor and Associate Chair of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Department of Sociology, CB 3210, Hamilton Hall, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599., Email: [email protected] 2: Robert Faris is a graduate student in the Deparment of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Department of Sociology, CB 3210, Hamilton Hall, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2005-03-01

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