Friday, November 10, 2006

Which American ethnic group is the most spiritual? GSS respondents were asked how often do they experience a connection to all life. Answers range from never (=6) to many times a day (=1) (many times a day?!) I calculated mean scores for ethnic groups with at least 30 cases and subtracted this number from 6 so that higher numbers indicate greater spirituality:

Mean spirituality score (sample size in parentheses):

Scots 3.29 (42)
Blacks 3.26 (82)
American Indians 3.12 (58)

USA 3.04 (1,000)

English/Welsh 2.95 (137)
Mexicans 2.91 (61)
Germans 2.90 (151)
Irish 2.90 (138)
Italians 2.80 (54)
Scandanavians (Danes, Norwegians, Swedes) 2.78 (36)
East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos) 1.92 (26)

I was under the impression that Scandanavians and East Asians were sober people, so I combined national groups so samples were larger. I was right, espeically with Asians: they fall to the bottom of the list. Blacks in second place seems right: they are not a sober people. The Scots in first place does seem odd, however.


  1. Anonymous8:59 AM

    I recall John Derbyshire saying that the Chinese are simultaneously the least religious and most superstitious people on earth.

  2. Anonymous8:35 AM

    Scots/Africans/American Indians - closest to their ancient tribal roots. Remember, the Scottish clan system didn't disappear until after Culloden (1745). Maybe spirituality/nature connections have something to do with the tribal cultural background. Also, these 3 populations tend to be more rural (Scots and Blacks in the rural south, American Indians on rural reservations). The other groups are more urban, less connected to "all life" , more connected to concrete and steel...

  3. Anonymous4:48 PM

    Poorly worded questions. Why do they think that feeling a connection with all life = spirituality?

    Connection = we are all connected by a common inheritance and environment.

    Spirituality = belief in magic.

    I feel a connection with all life every day; I see pictures of my ancestors and I can see that we are related. I see my kids and know that my DNA will be on alive on earth long after I am dead. I see people everywhere who remind me of all that we humans have in common with each other. I feel connected all the time.

    I don't however believe there is a great big entity in space who runs the world or listens to prayers.


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