Friday, January 19, 2007

More on religion and crime: I suspected that the correlation between not having a religion and being arrested might be due to gender: men are both less religious and more criminal than women. But this is what I found:


Percent ever arrested:

White men
Protestant 15.9
Catholic 19.2
Jewish 9.7
No religion 32.5

White women
Protestant 3.6
Catholic 3.9
Jewish 3.1
No religion 11.8

Black men
Protestant 25.4
Catholic 37.3
No religion 43.5

Black women
Protestant 7.0
Catholic 8.2
No religion 6.5

Even controlling for gender, people with a religion tend to be less criminal. And according to these numbers, religion is more important than race: non-affiliated whites have higher arrest rates than Protestant blacks (both men and women). The numbers, however, do show that race matters. I combined Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino Americans to make a sufficiently large group, and only one out of 55 had ever been arrested: a Catholic Filipino. The 10 Asians with no religion had zero arrests. It's interesting how 82% of this sample of Asians report a religion: clearly Asian Americans are more religious than people in the old country.

By the way, I looked to see why black Catholics are so much more criminal than Protestants. You can see in the numbers above that the difference is concentrated among men. The only factor I could find is that Black Catholics are a significantly younger group: more of them grew up during the era of high crime. I suppose they are younger because as Steve Sailer wrote, more black kids are being sent to parochial schools, and some convert. Steve also thought (as did I) that they might be concentrated in New Orleans, a crime-ridden city. But the largest share of them (according to the GSS) live in the mid-Atlantic division--NJ, NY, and PA.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I bet people who fish do less crime than those who don't fish. Probably the same applies to many hobbies that assign you to some activity. Activity spent in one thing is away from other.

On the other hand, this is from a survey data, and I'd expect the religious people to lie much more about their past. They generally like living in an illusion.

Anonymous said...

Riiiiiiight. That's why religious people report lower arrest rates. We like living in an illusion. It isn't that religion gives many people a moral anchor. It's because we are delusional.

Ron Guhname said...

My reaction to the post was: data that indicate that religious people are more ethical lead us to conclude that they are less ethical.

Anonymous said...

I would not be willing to admit that I was a churchgoer during an arrest. Then my congregation might find out I had sinned.

According to the prison system, most inmates are religious, though many do not belong to any of the religions offered as choices in your data.

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Anonymous said...

it depends on how this data was taken and what samples of people were used to collect this data. If you call people and ask them if they ever commited a crime, most people would be hesitant to admit.

I personally believe this data is false, because there are higher crime rates in poor parts of town, and the higher crime rates are due to the corruption of the school system, and less education about evolution and science would lead to people to be easily influenced by religion.

Anonymous said...

also, not all atheists are the same. there are some without morals and an education, and there are some with morals and an education. Same with religion, some people strictly abide to the morals of the bible, and some are crazy conservatives that read the bible literarlly and set forth to kill everyone who is not affiliated with their god.
as Steven Weinberg said: "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

Ron Guhname said...

Anon: Weinberg is full of crap because he didn't finish the sentence. For good people to do evil things, they need religion or a government or an ideology or a revolution or a tribe or a gang or a mob or, etc, etc.