Saturday, June 21, 2008

43% of young men who never go to church have a record

Males 18-25, N = 1,243

Females 18-25, N = 1,488

Males 18-25, N = 765

Females 18 -25, N = 886

My last post reported a positive correlation between church attendance and celibacy for both young men and women (ages 18-25). The question of whether religiosity has any influence on one's behavior interests me, so I wanted to look at the relationship a little more closely and generated the top two graphs displayed above.

We see that, for both men and women, going to church nearly every week, if not more often, is associated with a greater likelihood of celibacy (celibates are the red sections of the bar graph) . To be specific, 34% of young men who attend more than once a week are celibate, compared to 12% of those who never go. For women, the respective numbers are 26% and 10%.

So, we see a connection between religiosity and sex, but how about some other domain of morality, say, crime. The bottom two graphs show the relatioship between attending services and being arrested at least once for a crime.

The same kind of pattern holds here. For men, 43% of those who never go to church have been arrested, while only 13% of the most frequent attenders have. The corresponding percentages for females is 14% and 8%.

Religiosity seems to differentiate young men more than women, so there are at least two explanations available. Women might naturally behave better and thus benefit less from religion. Or there might be a self-selection effect going on here where men who attend religious services often are an especially moral bunch among men, while religious women are not as different from their non-religious counterparts.

Whatever be the case, it makes more sense for a woman to find a boyfriend at church than for a man to find a girlfriend. A guy who is always AWOL from church has almost a 50/50 chance of having a record. By contrast, only one out of seven girls who never goes has been arrested.


  1. the upshot of your post is that unattractive people are more likely to regularly attend religious services?

  2. Anonymous8:54 AM

    Elmer Gantry has obviously never been to church, but is an expert at put-down socialism.
    But it is an interesting thought. It means that criminals are more likely to be good-looking. That helps the general population to be wary of anyone beautiful.
    Take the 'beautiful' in Hollywood, for example. Hollywood stars are more likely to be offenders as many of them are on drugs, alcohol, and are over-active sexually, all by- products of their jobs in propaganda dissemination.


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