Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Religion, immigration, and abortion: With 2006 General Social Survey data now being available to the public, we've now got enough cases (when added to earlier years) to analyze small religious groups. Listed below are the percent who think a woman whould have the right to have an abortion for any reason:


Percent in favor of right to an abortion for any reason


Jewish 77.8
Buddhists 71.1
None 66.3
Eastern Orthodox 56.2
Hindus 50.0
Inter-denominational 48.9
Muslims 44.4

USA 40.1

Christian 39.2
Catholic 35.4
Protestant 36.0

These numbers explode the myth that immigrants make the country more socially conservative. Buddhists, Hindus, Orthodox Christians, and even Muslims have above-average percentages. The table looks like various immigrants with Jews and the non-religious all lined up against native-born Christians. But of course, that's not right since Mexicans and Filipinos are large immigrant groups and are heavily Catholic (Mexicans 73.2%, Filipinos 77.1%). Let's look at the views toward abortion for immigrant groups:


Percent in favor of the right to abortion for any reason

Russians 77.4
English/Welsh 64.3
German 50.8
India 49.2
Polish 47.9
China 47.8
Irish 46.3
Scottish 44.1
Arab 41.7
Africa 37.1
Filipinos 35.0
Spanish 30.9
Italian 29.3
Puerto Ricans 23.5
Mexico 20.6

Those from Catholic countries have below-average numbers, except for Ireland and Poland, which like the rest of Europe (except for Spain and Italy) suck. Let me add that Asian Indians suck and Chinese immigrants suck too. Put Arabs on the suck list, but Africans are okay.

The problem with Mexicans is that, compared to immigrants, those born here move to the left: thirty four percent favor abortion on demand.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ethnic loyality among Jews: A theme I often run across on the blogosphere is the extent to which Jews think about collective Jewish interests when forming political views. People often confuse four different entities: 1) a relatively small number of famous elites; 2) Jewish elites in general; 3) major Jewish organizations; and 4) Jews as a group. This website is devoted to data, especially survey data, and such an approach lends itself to assessing question #4. In past posts, data have indicated that only a minority of American Jews are what could be termed ethnocentric. The only measures I have seen which demonstrate consensus or something approaching consensus have been Jews' belief in immigration and preference for Democratic political candidates.

One measure of ethnic loyalty available from the General Social Survey is whether or not you think of yourself as mainly an American when considering social and political issues, or as a member of an ethnic group. Almost 1,200 people were asked this. Here are the percentages who answered "mainly just as an American":


Percent who think of themselves as just an American

German 99.2
English/Welsh 97.5
Protestant Irish 97.1
Scottish 95.2
Catholic Irish 94.7
Amerindian 92.2

USA 88.8

Italian 88.2
Jewish 84.1
Mexicans (born in U.S) 83.3
Black 56.5

A commentor at Sailer's blog claimed that American Jews are like Irish Americans, but the data tell us that they are more like Mexicans: most don't form opinions qua minorities, but some do.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Which ethnic group has the classiest tastes? There are all kinds of good music, but you must admit that there are only three kinds that we would call really classy: classical, opera, and jazz. So who likes these types of music the most? The General Social Survey asked almost 1,200 Americans about their musical preferences. Answers ranged from "like it very much" (1) to "dislike it very much" (5). I calculated the means for ethnic groups with at least 30 respondents, and subtracted them from 5 so that higher scores indicate more preference for the music:


Mean classical music score

Scottish 2.77
Jewish 2.65
Polish 2.53
English/Welsh 2.52

USA 2.43

Italian 2.41
Irish 2.32
Dutch 2.39
German 2.32
Black 2.12
Amerindian 1.87



Mean opera score

Polish 1.86
Scots 1.83
Italian 1.74
English/Welsh 1.61
Dutch 1.58
Jewish 1.58

USA 1.57

Black 1.55
German 1.46
Irish 1.41
Amerindian 1.31


Mean jazz score

Black 3.05
Jewish 3.00
Polish 2.63

USA 2.44

English/Welsh 2.41
Irish 2.40
Italian 2.38
German 2.29
Scots 2.24
Amerindian 2.19
Dutch 2.00


Not surprisingly, Blacks like climb to the top of the list for jazz, and Italian Americans move up for opera. But overall, Polish Americans are at the top. Jews aren't too crazy about opera, and people of Scottish descent like classical and opera but not jazz. Amerindians don't dig any of it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Is it just an unfair stereotype that women have more emotional difficulties than men? The General Social Survey asked 1,410 Americans if, in the past 4 weeks, emotional problems had prevented them from accomplishing as much as they would like. Here are the percentages who said yes:


Percent reporting emotional difficulties

Women 21.8
Men 14.8

That's about 50% more women than men. Skeptics will claim that women are only more likely to report emotional difficulties, but the question is quite specific: it is asking for the type of emotional difficulty that undermines productivity.

I can't speak for all couples, but in my marriage my wife is usually more (negatively) emotional, and I'm the reassuring one.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Having a gun stuck in you face is a common experience

The General Social Survey asked 6,599 men if they had ever been threatened with a gun or shot at. Here are the percentages by ethnic group:


Percent ever threatened with a gun or shot at

American Indian 44.9
Mexican 42.3
Blacks 42.1
French 35.9
Protestant Irish 34.8
Czech 33.3
Russian 32.4
German 32.0
Jewish 31.7

USA 31.5

Catholic Irish 31.4
Scottish 30.0
English/Welsh 29.2
Austrian 27.5
Danish 26.9
Swedish 26.3
Polish 26.0
Italian 24.3
French Canadian 22.7
Dutch 15.5
Asian 12.5

My first reaction is the frequency of this type of victimization: almost 1/3 of all males. I must hang out with the right kind of people because this has never happened to me or anyone I know. (The numbers might be inflated a bit by reports of military experiences). Seconds, NAMs (non-Asian Minorities) inhabit the most violent worlds. Amerindians face a higher risk of victimization than either blacks or Mex-Ams. Whites are in the middle, and Asians (Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino) are not surpisingly at the bottom. These numbers suggest that being a victim is corrrelated with being a perpetrator: assaulted one day, assaulting the next. Even though Asians tend to be urban, they have very low rates of victimization. Why? Well, they don't provoke others, and much of the time they are moving among other Asians--a group whose members rarely point guns at people.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Compared to 1990, twice as many favor marijuana legalization



Since 1973, General Social Survey respondents have been asked if marijuana use should legalized. Looking at the graph, we can see that support has been on the increase since the early 90s. In a graph not shown, about 50 percent of young people (ages 18-30) now favor legalization. The feeling that people should be able to do whatever they want as long as nobody gets hurts has evidently been growing incrementally over the past 2 decades (with a plateauing in recent years).

Monday, November 12, 2007

My faith in the people's wisdom is restored: GSS respondents were asked how scientific is the discipline of sociology. I display the answers below, along with attitudes toward biology for the sake of comparison.


Percent saying sociology is scientific

Very scientific 8.6
Pretty scientific 43.8
Not too scientific 30.3
Not scientific 9.1
Haven't heard of it 8.2


Percent saying biology is scientific

Very scientific 71.7
Pretty scientific 24.6
Not too scientific 2.1
Not scientific 0.8
Haven't heard of it 0.8

I am so pleased to learn that only 9% of people think a discipline that believes that behavior is 100% environmentally produced is "very scientific." Yes, you might find an odd sociologist who accepts that genes and biology matter, but sociology did not convince of him of that.

And I am also tickled to learn that 8 percent of people haven't even heard of sociology! Were it 80%!
Is there a declining interest in science? Over at Steve Sailer's blog, there was a recent discussion about a loss of interest in science. I wondered if it were true of the population in general and mined some data from the 2006 science module of the General Social Survey. Respondents were asked if they would be interested in a TV program on the polar regions. I calculated the percentages who said they would be "very likely" to watch the show by age range:


Percent who are very likely to watch a TV science program

18-30 25.1
31-45 30.7
46-60 41.8
61+ 40.1

Now, I can't tell if these differences show a dropping in interest in science, an age effect (a tendency to like science more as one ages) or a cohort effect (something--like landing on the moon--impacted specific age cohorts). It's not due to more TV watching in general on the part of older people: only seniors watch (slightly) more TV than 18-30s.

If younger people are turning away from science, it's not for lack of studying it in school. Respondents were also asked if they took a physics class in high school:


Percent who took physics in high school

18-30 41.0
31-45 34.0
46-60 24.4
61+ 26.7

Science is difficult, technical, and dry. Traditionally a nerdy white guy thing, most of those types I see on campus now don't have the discipline for it.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lazy Americans? The open borders crowd gleefully tell us how much immigrants inject energy into an otherwise lazy America. Well, I looked at data from the California Workforce Survey to see who does the most overtime. Respondents (N=868) were asked how often they worked more than 40 hours a week. Here are the percentages who said "usually" by racial/ethnic group:


Percent who usually work overtime

White 31.2
Black 22.4
American-born Hispanic 24.2
Immigrant Hispanic 26.2

Those fat, lazy white people might be fat, but they ain't lazy.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Long gun ownership on the decline




As a follow-up on the post about the decline of hunting, I generated these stacked bar charts showing trends in the household ownership of rifles, shotguns, and pistols. You can see that fewer people own either type of long gun which matches the dropping interest in hunting. The rate of handgun ownership, by contrast, seemed to grow very slightly until about a decade ago, probably in response to fear of crime, and may be slipping a bit more recently as crime rates have fallen. The NRA and all lovers of self-reliance must not be too happy about these trends.
One-third of very old blacks thinks the IQ race gap is genetic: As a follow-up to the last post, I wanted to look further into this very odd phenomenon of blacks who believe that their group does not learn as well because of inborn differences. I discovered that many elderly blacks (ages 70-90) believe this, especially if they were asked this question in the 1980s and were, therefore, born in the early part of the 20th century. The number for this group is 33 percent. Is the high number the result of experience and freedom from modern-day indoctrination, or were they indeed indoctrinated, only by the segregationist culture of their youth? I report, you decide.