Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Religion and intermarriage: Reader Desmond Jones asks an interesting question: "Are the religious more or less likely to marry outside their ethnic/racial group?" Church is a common way for marriage-minded people to meet, and it is certainly true that people of different races often belong to the same religion. On the other hand, churches are quite segregated. In my town for instance, Catholic Hispanics gravitate toward the same parishes while whites do the same.

The Houston Area Study asked 809 people about the race of themselves and their spouses, and asked how important religion was to the respondent.


Percent who are married to someone outside their ethnic/racial group

Whites
Religion is not very important 10.0
Somewhat important 6.7
Very important 11.3

Hispanics
Religion is not very important 44.4
Somewhat important 14.6
Very important 13.7

(The black sample is not large enough). Church doesn't matter for whites, but look at Hispanics--huge differences. It looks like religious involvement keeps Latinos from assimilating.

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