Friday, October 19, 2012

An increase in skepticism among young people?

I've been distributing a questionnaire to students which, among other things, asks them their religion. Quite a few have answered "atheist" which makes me wonder if skepticism is on the increase among young people. It would not surprise me, given the success of New Atheists like Richard Dawkins.

The General Social Survey has been asking about belief in God most survey years since 1988. Here are the percentages for men and women ages 18-29 for the 90s and the past decade:

Percent skeptical--1990s

Men (n = 470)
Atheist 4.9
Agnostic 7.7

Women (n = 571)
Atheist 2.5
Agnostic 3.9

Past decade

Men (n = 644)
Atheist 5.3
Agnostic 10.2

Women (n = 824)
Atheist 1.6
Agnostic 5.3

All categories appear to have increased except for female atheists.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Desire for revenge, not anger, helps explain why men are more physically aggressive

New from the Journal of Research in Personality:
Past research indicates that men are more physically aggressive than women, but very little research has examined mediators of this gender difference. Indeed, the only established finding to date is that one plausible mediator – namely trait anger – shows no reliable gender difference whatsoever. Drawing on sexual selection theory and social-learning theories, we predicted that revenge may mediate this gender difference even though anger does not. Three studies using both personality questionnaires (Studies 1 and 2) and objective laboratory measures of aggression (Study 3) provided support for this contention. The results provide some of the first evidence for a reliable mediator of gender difference in physical aggression.
And here their version of sexual selection theory is spelled out:
Sexual selection theory is the most prominent evolutionary explanation of gender differences in physical aggression. According to this theory, men are typically under greater evolutionary pressures to behave aggressively than women. Because women are sometimes unavailable for reproduction due to pregnancy, women are argued to be a more valuable reproductive resource for which men must compete. Men can do so by aggressively excluding other men from mating opportunities or by seeking to attract women. Evolutionary theorists have traditionally argued that men mainly seek to attract women by establishing a more dominant position in the social hierarchy.
According to Daly and Wilson, these factors have converged and made men more prone to aggressive retaliation in the face of minor provocations. In order to deter male rivals from aggression and to achieve a dominant status, men need to establish a reputation for “toughness” (i.e., that they are not vulnerable to mistreatment by others). Thus, even minor insults demand swift and forceful retaliation.
Consistent with this, crime statistics and laboratory experiments have both shown that men are more likely to respond to trivial provocations with extreme retaliation. A large proportion of murders can be attributed to men responding to minor provocations, but similar incidences are exceedingly rare among women and. Moreover, laboratory experiments show that priming status goals leads men (but not women) to be more physically aggressive in the face of minor provocations.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sexual people overperceive flirtatiousness in others

New from Personality and Individual Differences:
As reproductive rates have the potential to be higher in men than women, it is more costly (from an evolutionary perspective) for men to miss a mating opportunity than women. This asymmetry in costs has been proposed to result in men being more sensitive to cues to sexual opportunity than women, and thus men are more likely than women to misperceive sexual interest from opposite sex others. To investigate this sexual misperception bias, smiling male and female faces were presented to participants who were asked to judge whether the face appeared friendly or flirtatious. Participants also completed a sociosexual orientation questionnaire in order to assess their current attitudes towards sexual relationships. In general, we found that males perceive female faces as flirtatious significantly more often than females. However, our results also suggested that people with high scores on the sociosexuality inventory (who rated themselves as more likely to engage in short-term, casual relationships), regardless of sex, had a tendency
to perceive the faces of potential mates as more flirtatious, and that this variable explained more variance than sex alone. Our findings demonstrate that sociosexuality may mediate biases in perceiving the sexual intent of others.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The South and sexual perversity

Here's an interesting topic. I've been reminded recently how the cultural elite thinks that Southerners are sexual perverts. Just a couple days ago I watched an episode of Louis C.K. where a redneck pulled a gun on Louis to get him to have sex with his sister. Just last week I watched Midnight Cowboy again which suggested that the Southern protagonist was sexually abused by his grandmother. That reminded me of the "purdy mouth" scene in Deliverance. More recently, Texan Killer Joe, played by Matthew McConaughey, obsesses on a young girl. And so on and so on.

I looked for data on the question. I had a difficult time finding anything, but the GSS has asked participants if their religious leader has ever made sexual advances, and this is certainly sexually deviant (sample = 1,758). The percent for Americans in the non-South is 2.3 percent, while it's 2.6 percent in the South; they are not significantly different. Plus, the rate in the South might actually be lower if you take into account the fact that the non-South is less religious and thus has a smaller share of its people that are at risk of clergy abuse.

UPDATE: I equalized the situation by only looking at people who attend at least nearly every week. The non-South percentage rises to 4.2%, while the South's rises to 3.7% (N = 531). Still no significant difference.

UPDATE UPDATE: These low numbers contradict the picture presented in Grapes of Wrath of ministers having sex with members every time they get to feelin' the Spirit. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

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I see that Razib Khan and Audacious Epigone are listed in the index of this book. You should buy it and see what it says.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Sexual people are more likely to be victims and perpetrators of sexual harassment

A new study from Evolution and Human Behavior reports that highly sexual people are more likely to be victims and perpetrators of sexual harassment:
Sexual harassment and coercion have mainly been considered from a sex difference perspective. While traditional social science theories have explained harassment as male dominance of females, the evolutionary perspective has suggested that sex differences in the desire for sex are a better explanation. This study attempts to address individual differences associated with harassment from an evolutionary perspective. Considering previous research that has found links between sociosexual orientation inventory (SOI) and harassment, we consider whether this association can be replicated in a large, representative sample of high school students (N=1199) from a highly egalitarian culture. Expanding the previous studies which mainly focused on male perpetrators and female victims, we also examine females and males as both perpetrators and as victims. We believe that unrestricted sociosexuality motivates people to test whether others are interested in short-term sexual relations in ways that sometimes might be defined as harassment. Furthermore, unrestricted individuals signal their sociosexual orientation, and while they do not desire all individuals that react to these signals with sexual advances, they attract much more sexual advances than individuals with restricted sociosexual orientations, especially from other unrestricted members of the opposite sex. This more or less unconscious signaling thus makes them exploitable, i.e., harassable. We find that SOI is a predictor for sexual harassment and coercion among high school students. The paper concludes that, as expected, unrestricted sociosexuality predicts being both a perpetrator and a victim of both same-sex and opposite-sex harassment.

Monday, August 27, 2012

National differences in female partner violence

In this WHO study of ever-partnered women in 10 countries, Ethiopia has the highest percent ever being physically or sexually assault by a partner--71 percent. Japan has the lowest with 15 percent. The authors chalk it up to differences in economic development. I'm not so sure.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Working memory training does not improve IQ

In two new studies (here and here) it was reported that working memory training does not improve cognitive ability. From the second article:
Numerous recent studies seem to provide evidence for the general intellectual benefits of working memory training. In reviews of the training literature, Shipstead, Redick, and Engle (2010, 2012) argued that the field should treat recent results with a critical eye. Many published working memory training studies suffer from design limitations (no-contact control groups, single measures of cognitive constructs), mixed results (transfer of training gains to some tasks but not others, inconsistent transfer to the same tasks across studies), and lack of theoretical grounding (identifying the mechanisms responsible for observed transfer). The current study compared young adults who received 20 sessions of practice on an adaptive dual n-back program (working memory training group) or an adaptive visual search program (active placebo-control group) with a no-contact control group that received no practice. In addition, all subjects completed pretest, midtest, and posttest sessions comprising multiple measures of fluid intelligence, multitasking, working memory capacity, crystallized intelligence, and perceptual speed. Despite improvements on both the dual n-back and visual search tasks with practice, and despite a high level of statistical power, there was no positive transfer to any of the cognitive ability tests.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Early birds have the best temperament profile

Here is the abstract from an interesting new study in Personality and Indiviual Differences:
The aim of the present study was to test whether morningness–eveningness is related to the six dimensions of temperament postulated in the Regulative Theory of Temperament: briskness (BR), perseveration (PE), sensory sensitivity (SS), emotional reactivity (ER), endurance (EN), and activity (AC). A sample of 581 undergraduates (age: 21.92 ± 2.54; 381 female) completed the Morningness–Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ) and the Formal Characteristics of Behaviour – Temperament Inventory. Data was analysed using linear and quadratic hierarchical regressions. The MEQ scores exhibited linear associations with BR and EN and quadratic relationships with PE, ER and AC. Morningness was related to high levels of EN, BR and AC and low levels of PE and ER, while eveningness was associated with low levels of EN, ER, BR and PE and high levels of AC. Subjects in the middle of the morningness–eveningness dimension exhibited high levels of PE and ER, low levels of AC, and average levels of EN and BR. Morningness was related to the most advantageous temperament profile, and temperament is discussed as a possible mediator between morningness–eveningness and mood and affective disorders.

And here are the first two paragraphs:
The morningness–eveningness dimension is a variable belonging to individual differences, describing individual preferences for functioning at various times of the day. Individuals differing in morningness–eveningness display differing circadian phasing of many physiological and psychological circadian rhythms. Individuals with different morningness–eveningness levels also vary in many more individual characteristics than simply their circadian phase position.

Particularly consistent relationships have been shown for morningness–eveningness and affective functioning. Eveningness was associated with a disadvantageous diurnal mood profile, consisting of low energy and pleasance and high tension (Jankowski & Ciarkowska, 2008), which was similar to the profile of individuals with depressive symptoms (Wirz-Justice, 2008). Therefore, it is not surprising that eveningness has been associated with depression (Chelminski, Ferraro, Petros, & Plaud, 1999) and other affective disorders ( [Ahn et al., 2008] and [Murray et al., 2003]). Consequently, greater eveningness was associated with lower life satisfaction (Jankowski, 2012). The above observations seem to have crucial importance in studying morningness–eveningness, as they imply that individual circadian preference may influence key measures of human wellbeing and happiness.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Falling teen pregnancy and abortion

This is a great article at Slate that provides evidence that later onset of sex and increased use of IUDs in particular have reduced teenage pregnancy and abortion significantly. The author explains that people, especially young people, do not use condoms or take the pill reliably. And it sounds like modern IUDs are superior to the old ones. (Thanks to Jason Malloy).

Law and morality

One concern I have with legalizing behaviors that I view as immoral is that I suspect there is a reciprocal relationship between law and morality. Changing values lead to new laws, and new laws cause a change in values.

Using GSS data, I looked at the strength of the relationship between: 1) illegal drug use and favoring marijuana legalization, and 2) one's view on homosexual sex and favoring gay marriage. Eta-squared for the first relationship is .057 which indicates moderate strength. The gamma statistic for the second relationship is .79 which is very strong. Supporting a law, of course, does not logically require that one is in favor of the behavior in question, but sociologically the two seem to move in tandem.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Religious vs. spiritual

There is a certain type of person who doesn't like to describe himself as "religious" but is fine with "spiritual." (For that matter, there are self-described religious people who don't consider themselves to be particularly spiritual.) You might get the impression that the two are alternatives, but the MIDUS study shows considerable overlap. The correlation between the variables of how religious you are and how spiritual you are is .54 for 988 respondents -- a strong relationship. I also looked to see if perhaps the correlation was lower for young people. For those ages 18-39, the correlation is .51, not much different.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Religiosity and crime

I ran across this meta-analysis of 60 studies that found that religiosity reduces criminal involvement. Byron Johnson in his book More God, Less Crime goes much further and reviews over 300 studies. He finds that all but a handful of studies show the same irreligiosity-crime link. Quite a few of his studies were published in psychology journals, so at least some of them should have controlled for individual differences. (I can't say for sure--who has time to review 300 studies?) This is probably less of an issue since most of these studies are of adolescents who are often made to attend religious services whether they want to attend or not. This should reduce self-selection.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Age and happiness

The idea that youth brings happiness is a common belief. After all people usually enjoy the greatest health, attractiveness and freedom while they are young. The graphs below show that older men and women are not less happy. In fact, male happiness peaks in the late 60s and early 70s and then drops. For women, the pattern seems more or less flat. There's a little increase in the 20s and a decline after 70.

Men, n = 22,129


Women, n = 28,065

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Conservatives and single parenthood

The issue of out-of-wedlock births and conservatism came up in the comments of the last post. Here are the percentages of never-marrried men and women who have kids (GSS, years 2000-2010):

Percent never-married with kids--males

Extremely liberal 22.2
Liberal 12.2
Slightly liberal 18.9
Moderate 22.0
Slightly conservative 15.2
Conservative 21.9
Extremely conservative 37.5

Percent never-married with kids--females

Extremely liberal 34.3
Liberal 29.3
Slightly liberal 35.5
Moderate 45.6
Slightly conservative 37.4
Conservative 46.2
Extremely conservative 63.9

For single men, the numbers bounce around, but extreme conservatives are much more likely to have children. The conservative-fertility link is clearer for single women; over 60 percent of extreme conservatives have offspring. Part of the explanation for this is that conservatives are pro-natalist across the board: for all marital statuses, except perhaps for those who are separated, conservatives have larger families (data not shown).  

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Conservatives and perversity

In the comment section of the post on cross-national correlation between IQ and divorce, reader An Unmarried Man claims that conservatives live secretly perverted lives. (I'm not sure if he is applauding or criticizing us.)  You hear this often enough, but evidence is rarely, if ever, cited. The General Social Survey asks two questions (that I know of) about behavior that at least some people would call perverted--consumption of online pornography and homosexual sex.

Percent using pornographic site in last month--males

Extremely liberal 31.2
Liberal 30.2
Slightly liberal 41.7
Moderate 24.6
Slightly conservative 22.2
Conservative 17.8
Extremely conservative 18.2

Percent using pornographic site in last month--females

Extremely liberal 17.6
Liberal 8.1
Slightly liberal 3.3
Moderate 4.2
Slightly conservative 3.4
Conservative 3.8
Extremely conservative 0.0

Percent who have had same sex partners in past year--males

Extremely liberal 12.0
Liberal 7.9
Slightly liberal 4.5
Moderate 3.3
Slightly conservative 2.2
Conservative 1.5
Extremely conservative 1.4

Percent who have had same sex partners in past year--females

Extremely liberal 12.1
Liberal 5.1
Slightly liberal 2.8
Moderate 1.8
Slightly conservative 2.2
Conservative 1.5
Extremely conservative 2.0

In the study The Social Organization of Sexuality, the group that most frequently practices anal sex is Hispanics--70 percent of whom are Democrats.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Liberals and family

A reader claimed in the comments of the last post that liberals live very traditional lifestyles. This is simply not true.

From the General Social Survey (years 2000-2010):

Percent Married

Extremely liberal 29.5
Liberal 36.5
Slightly liberal 43.0
Moderate 46.2
Slightly conservative 50.6
Conservative 58.1
Extremely conservative 57.1

And even though there are fewer liberals who have ever been married and who therefore can get divorced, their rate of divorce is higher:

Percent Divorced

Extremely liberal 17.6
Liberal 17.1
Slightly liberal 15.5
Moderate 14.8
Slightly conservative 14.2
Conservative 12.2
Extremely conservative 12.8

Liberals are also more likely to be unfaithful:

Percent ever cheated on spouse

Extremely liberal 26.1
Liberal 23.6
Slightly liberal 19.7
Moderate 18.2
Slightly conservative 17.9
Conservative 14.0
Extremely conservative 14.0

Percent who cohabited before marriage (1994--most recent year)

Extremely liberal 53.3
Liberal 43.3
Slightly liberal 35.4
Moderate 29.1
Slightly conservative 23.5
Conservative 23.1
Extremely conservative 5.9

Percent of married who have no children

Extremely liberal 23.1
Liberal 19.3
Slightly liberal 17.9
Moderate 13.2
Slightly conservative 12.4
Conservative 10.8
Extremely conservative 7.0

Friday, July 27, 2012

The cross-national correlation between IQ and divorce

For 72 countries, I calculate a correlation of .44 between the mean IQ of a country and the rate of divorce. The greater wealth of intelligent countries reduces the economic necessity of marriage, but the correlation between per capita GDP and divorce is only .28.

I suspect that less intelligent countries are more likely to see marriage as a change in life status, not a contract. The acid of modern rationality reduces institutions like marriage to voluntary agreements that can be dissolved if unsatisfying. The focus on family used to be intergenerational; now it's business between adults.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cross-national correlates of corruption

Which kinds of countries are the most corrupt? Here are a few cross-national correlations:


IQ -.56
Percent black .28
Percent Muslim .30
Weekly religious attendance .37

So corrupt countries are less intelligent, more black, more Muslim, and more religious. Nordic and English-origin countries--smart, wealthy, post-Protestant/secular--are the least corrupt of all countries. Wealthy Asian nations are also good. (By the way, according to the data, the United States has gotten more corrupt over the past decade.)
I saw the The Dark Knight Rises yesterday. Was Christopher Nolan saying that TV news is torture?

Straight vs. lesbian families

Here is a nice table from the study in Social Science Research I mentioned before showing different outcomes for people raised in lesbian vs. straight homes:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

More on birth control and abortion cross-nationally

Here are additional correlates of contraceptive use and abortion cross-nationally:

More Muslims, less birth control (r = -.39)
More Muslims, less abortion (r = -.15)
More blacks, less birth control (r = -.51)
More blacks, less abortion (r = -.26)
Higher mean IQ, more birth control (r = .65)
Higher mean IQ, more abortion (r = .20)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Contraceptive use, abortion, and fertility cross-nationally

The cross-national correlation between contraceptive use and fertility is very large; it's -.66 for 172 countries (UN and CIA data). Not surprisingly, low fertility nations have high use rates. Rates in Europe are typically 60-plus percent for women of childbearing age who are in a relationship. The region with the lowest level is Western Africa where the numbers are roughly 10-20%.

Birth control is much more predictive of small families than abortion is. For 59 countries, the abortion-fertility correlation is only -.14. You might suspect that contraceptive use is inversely related to abortion and thus weakens the observed abortion-fertility correlation, but the fact is that high birth control countries also tend to be high abortion countries: the correlation is .12 for 59 countries. Reliance on birth control doesn't reduce abortion rates. Evidently, societies vary in their concern over fertility, and those with a high level of concern tend to focus on birth control as the first line of defense and abortion as a complementary backup.

Blacks and atheism

Razib Khan retweeted an invitation to join a live chat on how blacks don't do atheism. That made me wonder exactly what percent of American blacks don't believe in the existence of God. According to the GSS sample of 2,017 blacks, the 95% confidence interval is from 1.4 to 2.7%. For 11,866 whites, the interval is 2.4 to 3.0%. Since the two intervals overlap, there is no statistically significant racial difference.

UPDATE: Reader DR shows my error in the comments. Whites ARE significantly more likely than blacks to not believe in existence of God.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The sex ratio and abortion rate cross-nationally

For a sample of 59 countries, the correlation between sex ratio (WHO data) and the abortion rate (Guttmacher data) is -.26. In other words, countries with more men tend to have a lower abortion rate. The feminist interpretation of this would be that men are anti-abortion (i.e., they like to control women). The problem with this is that, at least in the United States, surveys indicate that men support abortion in numbers similar to women; they are just don't care about the issue as much.

Women usually turn to abortion when having a baby is inconvenient, and not having a stable relationship with a man is a major factor. It is not surprising, then, that societies that have a shortage of men (or suitable men) have high rates of abortion. The case of blacks in America is consistent with this view. Because of factors like male imprisonment, unemployment, and a lack of desire to commit, black women face a situation where there are always men ready for sex, but few who are available, willing, and suitable for a long-term relationship. The result is lots of abortions.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

IQ and fertility cross-nationally

I like finding big correlations, but not this time. The cross-national correlation between mean IQ and the total fertility rate for 178 countries is -.72. That's huge. The world gets dumber with each passing day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Church attendance and fertility cross-nationally

I was able to get total fertility rate (TFR) estimates from the CIA World Factbook. I subtracted 2.1 from each score--the rate necessary to keep a country's population stable. Positive scores reflect the extent to which a society is growing. Negative scores show the degree to which a society is dying.

I correlated this measure with the percent of the population that attends church weekly (World Values Survey). For 91 countries, it is .68--a very strong relationship. Societies with low numbers of people going to church are very likely to be dying.

By the way, I noticed that few countries are really close to 2.1. Societies tend to be either growing or dying.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Greediness of America

Liberals like to indict America as being uniquely money-obsessed. Sociologists claim it is a fundamental feature of the country (unlike most other countries). The World Values Survey asked respondents if the statement "wanting to get rich" sounds like them. Here are the percentages who answered "very much like me" or "like me" (N = 71,288):
Country % Agree
Ghana 62.2
Mali 57.4
South Africa 48.5
Morocco 47.3
Ethiopia 42.7
Zambia 41.6
Rwanda 36.2
Jordan 35.8
Burkina Faso 35.2
India 31.0
Iran 29.8
Malaysia 29.1
Turk 28.5
Vietnam 23.6
China 23.1
Indonesia 20.7
Egypt 19.6
Ukraine 19.6
Russia 18.9
Moldova 17.5
Cyprus 16.9
Trinidad 16.8
Chile 16.7
Serbia 16.6
Georgia 16.5
Romania 14.2
Thailand 13.7
Germany 12.1
Poland 10.4
Bulgaria 10.0
South Korea 10.0
Taiwan 10.0
England/Wales 7.5
Scotland 7.5
Canada 7.4
Mexico 7.1
Netherlands 7.1
Slovenia 6.7
Spain 6.5
Australia 6.0
USA 5.9
Uruguay 5.7
Andorra 5.6
Finland 5.4
France 5.4
Peru 4.9
Sweden 4.3
Switzerland 4.2
Argentina 4.1
Brazil 4.0
Norway 2.8
Japan 2.3

Out of a sample of 52 countries, the United States ranks 41st in greediness.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Church attendance, alcohol, divorce, and suicide

Here are a number of additional cross-national correlations that are supportive of a socially conservative orientation (the church data is from here and the divorce data from here):

Pearson Correlations

Alcohol consumption--crude divorce rate .61 (strong relationship)
Crude divorce rate--suicide rate .49 (medium)
Weekly church attendance--alcohol consumption -.40 (medium)
Weely church attendance--suicide -.42 (medium)
Weekly church attendance--crude divorce rate -.34 (medium)

Percent black, inequality, and national homicide rates

Using CIA data on race (admittedly crude), I calculated the Pearson correlation between percent black and national homicide rates. For 180 countries, it is .50--a strong association. More blacks means more homicide. Percent black is as predictive as mean IQ or the GINI measure of income inequality. While we're at it, the black-inequality correlation is .45. Bigger gaps between the wealthy and the poor go hand in hand with more blacks. 

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Alcohol and suicide

Using WHO data, I calculated the cross-national correlation between annual alcohol consumption and suicide rates. For 101 countries, it is .58--a strong assocation. Countries with high levels of consumption have much more suicide. Eastern Europe illustrates this well. The average person there drinks roughly 15 liters of (pure) alcohol per year, and suicide rates are two or three times the average.

Such a finding supports the socially conservative view that drinking immoderately (or at all) needs to be discouraged.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The cross-national relationship between percent Muslim and homicide

Continuing my focus on cross-national homicide, I correlated rates with the percent of the population that is Muslim. For a sample of 181 countries, the correlation is -.17 which means that countries with more Muslims tend to have less murder. This is striking when one considers that Muslim-dominated countries tend to be poor and some of them are sub-Saharan African. After adjusting for per capita GDP and percent black, the correlation is likely to be stronger.

One note: I'm going to try to get a better idea of how relilable the homicide data are. I chose coroner's data over criminal justice data simply because I trust public health institutions more, and they tend to report more counts of homicide (suggesting that criminal justice agencies are not reporting some cases). The two systems seem to be pretty consistent in high-income countries, but just eyeballing the data, the counts from the two sources can be very different in poor countries. I suspect that politically-motivated killings in unstable countries complicate things.   

Cross-national IQ, inequality, and homicide

Using data from Richard Lynn and the recent WHO study, the correlation between national level IQ and the homicide rate across 181 countries is -.51. This is a strong association, so smarter countries are much less violent. The only cross-national correlate of homicide that is this strong is income inequality (more unequal countries are more violent). In my data set, the correlation between the GINI inequality index and homicide is .48.

UPDATE: Since I mentioned inequality, any thoughts on how to explain the correlation? The inequality-homicide link is reliable in macrolevel research. Sociologists claim that a large gap between the wealthy and the poor generates anger and resentment which low-status people take out on convenient, low-risk targets. It doesn't seem plausible to me that Bill Gates is an important cause of black-on-black ghetto violence. Compared to Europe, the US has a fairly high level of inequality, but racial diversity probably explains its inequality-homicide correlation. As for the cross-national link, is it that poorly endowed populations are both violent and unlikely to create more equal arrangements? I'll have to see how much the inequality-homicide link is reduced when adjusted for mean IQ.

Back to the US question: if American liberals are so concerned about large gaps between the wealthy and the poor, why would they invite large numbers of both Chinese and Mexican immigrants? At least the immigrants of a century ago were similar (with the exception of Jews).

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Guns and homicide

I am currently putting together a large cross-national data set and will report interesting correlations. Let me begin with the relationship between civilian gun availability and homicide. I calculated the Pearson correlation between the two rates using data from the Small Arms Survey and WHO's recent study of homicide. For a sample of 181 countries, the correlation is -.25. That means that countries with more guns tend to have less lethal violence.

Gun ownership is strongly related to per capita GDP (.48). Countries with many guns like the United States (which is the world's leader with 88 firearms per 100 people) are typically wealthy. We Americans usually think of Europe as being practically gun free, but they have significantly higher levels than many poor countries. And two of the poorest regions are also the most violent--Latin America and especailly Sub-Saharan Africa. An African country might have less than one gun per 100 people, but that doesn't stop it from having a homicide rate many times the global average. I might get different results when I conduct a multivariate analysis--gun availability might lead to more violence when GDP is controlled, for example--but guns are not a serious enough factor to overwhelm more important causes of homicide.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Low crime rate in Malaysia

I'm looking at self-report and victim data (which I can't give details on) that shows that crimes of all types are much more common in the U.S. than Malaysia. Why such a huge difference? The sociologist would expect the poor country to be the criminogenic one, but he's an idiot so we'll leave him aside. The HBD-er might answer that Malaysia is an Asian country, and Asians are law-abiding.

I wanted to see if Islam and sharia might have something to do with it. I looked up the most recent homicide counts (WHO) for Malaysia and Thailand--a contiguous, non-Islamic Asian country--and calculated rates. The rate for Malaysia is .5 victims per 100,000 total population. For Thailand, it's 6.2--12 times the Malaysian rate. This is consistent with the view that crime levels are lower in societies with intense religious cultures.

UPDATE: The plot thickens: I see Wikipedia lists homicide rates. While its data shows that Thailand is worse than Malaysia, Indonesia has a high rate. Also--rates are below average in the the Near East/Middle East/SW Asian region.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Correlates of crime

In Handbook of Crime Correlates, Lee Ellis and colleagues review hundreds of studies and summarize the results. Here are some interesting findings:

1. Thirty-two studies fail to find a clear difference between males and females in partner violence. Evidently women hit just as often; men just hit harder.

2. While police data show higher arrest rates for Hispanics and especially blacks compared to whites, self-reported crime differences are not consistent (322 studies). This is not really a problem. Self-report studies capture minor crime while arrest data taps more serious crime. Similar to the gender gap, whites, blacks, and Hispanics don't differ much on minor offenses. Clear differences emerge as crimes become more serious.

3. Seventy-eight self-report and arrest studies show unequivocally that American Indians (AIs) have higher crime rates than whites. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that since AIs have not lived under violence-suppressing states for as many centuries as other populations, they have not been "tamed" to the same extent.

4. Whites are more criminal than East Asians--at least according to police data (37 studies).

5. Crime rates of whites and South Asians do not differ signficantly (16 studies).

6. Oceanic Islanders are more criminal than whites (25 studies).

7. Areas with more taverns, liquor stores, and alcohol consumption have higher crime rates (26 studies).

8. Crime rates are higher in areas with more gambling and tourism establishments (11 studies).

9. Crime rates are higher in areas where religious membership is low (12 studies).

10. Regions closer to the equator have more crime (35 studies).

11. Later-borns are more criminal than first-borns (12 studies).

12. People with more friends are less criminal (25 studies).

13. Employed teens are more delinquent (19 studies).

14. Religious people are less criminal (112 studies).

15. People with orthodox religious beliefs are less criminal (18 studies).

16. Jews are less criminal than non-Jews (28 studies).

17. People with more sex partners are more criminal (39 studies).

18. Teens who have sex for the first time at younger ages are more delinquent (23 studies).

19. People who have more tolerant attitudes toward crime and drugs are more criminal (34 studies).

20.  People with defiant and rebellious attitudes are more criminal (46 studies).

Many of these findings make perfect sense to a social conservative.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hispanic and white working-class voters

Would someone explain why the national media goes on endlessly about the critical importance of the Latino vote? According to this 538 table, Hispanic might is really only felt in states that are clearly blue (ie., California) or clearly red (i.e., Texas). Very small percentages of voting Hispanics in 2008 were in swing states. Focusing on this year's key states, the share of all Hispanic voters was one percent in Nevada and North Carolina. It was two percent of all Hispanic voters in Ohio and Virginia. It was only three percent in Colorado. The share is large only in Florida, but the state is not filled with Mexican Americans demanding amnesty for their illegal co-ethnics. Plus, come hell or high water, Latinos vote 2-to-1 for Democrats, so they are not swing voters but part of the Democrat base.

I watch the polls very closely, and Romney is doing surprisingly well in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan (or more precisely, Obama is doing surprisingly badly, especially when one considers the auto bailout). All the Hispandering, in addition to pandering to homosexuals and women who want free birth control, seems to be causing a reaction among working-class whites in the Rust Belt. Blue-collar whites vote in much larger numbers than Latinos in swing states, but Big Media doesn't give a shit about them.

Pew: Asians now the largest group of new immigrants

According to Pew Research:
Asians recently passed Hispanics as the largest group of new immigrants to the United States. The educational credentials of these recent arrivals are striking. More than six-in-ten (61%) adults ages 25 to 64 who have come from Asia in recent years have at least a bachelor’s degree. This is double the share among recent non-Asian arrivals, and almost surely makes the recent Asian arrivals the most highly educated cohort of immigrants in U.S. history.

Compared with the educational attainment of the population in their country of origin, recent Asian immigrants also stand out as a select group. For example, about 27% of adults ages 25 to 64 in South Korea and 25% in Japan have a bachelor’s degree or more. In contrast, nearly 70% of comparably aged recent immigrants from these two countries have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Recent Asian immigrants are also about three times as likely as recent immigrants from other parts of the world to receive their green cards—or permanent resident status—on the basis of employer rather than family sponsorship (though family reunification remains the most common legal gateway to the U.S. for Asian immigrants, as it is for all immigrants).

The modern immigration wave from Asia is nearly a half century old and has pushed the total population of Asian Americans—foreign born and U.S born, adults and children—to a record 18.2 million in 2011, or 5.8% of the total U.S. population, up from less than 1% in 1965. By comparison, non-Hispanic whites are 197.5 million and 63.3%, Hispanics 52.0 million and 16.7% and non-Hispanic blacks 38.3 million and 12.3%.

Asian Americans trace their roots to any of dozens of countries in the Far East, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Each country of origin subgroup has its own unique history, culture, language, religious beliefs, economic and demographic traits, social and political values, and pathways into America.

But despite often sizable subgroup differences, Asian Americans are distinctive as a whole, especially when compared with all U.S. adults, whom they exceed not just in the share with a college degree (49% vs. 28%), but also in median annual household income ($66,000 versus $49,800) and median household wealth ($83,500 vs. $68,529).

Monday, June 18, 2012

Immigration and median incomes

Here's a DHS report of the number of U.S. naturalizations in 2011. I've listed below the top twenty sending countries. Next to the country, I show the median personal income for people born in the U.S. between the ages of 25 and 64 whose family came from the respective country (ACS data) . The overall median American income is $45,149.

Median personal income
1. Mexico 29,076
2. India 50,000
3. Philippines 39,460
4. China 51,921
5. Colombia 38,422
6. Cuba 40,000
7. Vietnam 39,910
8. Dominican Republic 30,000
9. Jamaica 30,969
10. Haiti 32,036
11. El Salvador 30,000
12. S. Korea 41,701
13. Pakistan 41,537
14. Peru 38,000
15. Brazil 39,460
16. Nigeria 34,300
17. Canada 37,376
18. Iran 41,537
19. United Kingdom 45,559
20. Poland 41,537

People from Mexico dwarf all other countries in numbers of 2011 U.S. naturalized citizens (95,000 Mexicans vs. 46,000 Indians--the next largest group) but the median income of Mexican-Americans is only a fraction of the average. It is the poorest group on the list, even lower than black groups. But the news is worse than that. Of the 20 countries listed, only Asian Indians, Chinese, and those whose families came from the UK earn above-average incomes. Americans with ancestors from the other 17 countries are below-average. And Dominicans, Jamaicans, Haitians, Salvadorans, and Nigerians are really low. Immigration from these countries is leading to more low-income Americans. And I'm focusing on native-born Americans, not their immigrant parents. (The reality is probably a little better since the average age of the native-born of many of these groups is lower than the overall American average, and income, of course, is related to age.)

The only bright spot is that two of the large immigration groups--Indians and Chinese--earn a lot of money.

Back to the bad news: not only do the poor groups tend to vote Democrat, their better off members do too, and even wealthy immigrant groups like Indian and Chinese Americans lean Left.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Another look at Muslim fertility

In the comments of the recent post on Muslim fertility, Dr. Charlton expresses skepticism about the validity of the study reported. He writes that we should assume that a peer-reviewed study has been conducted by someone who is dishonest or incompetent. I've been reading and conducting research for almost 20 years and agree with his view. That doesn't mean that every study is actually bad, but the publication process in the social sciences is sufficiently corrupt to cause one to be skeptical. This is one reason that I go to the original data if I can.

Let's do that now with fertility data. I went to the Population Reference Bureau and obtained 2011 total fertility rates (TFR) for Muslim-majority countries. TFR is an estimate of the total number of children the average woman will have based on current birth rates.

2011 Total Fertility Rate

Niger 7.0
Mali 6.4
Somalia 6.4
Afghanistan 6.3
Chad 6.0
Burkina Faso 5.8
Nigeria 5.7
Guinea 5.3
Yemen 5.3
Gambia 5.0
Sierra Leone 5.0
Comoros 4.8
Iraq 4.7
Senegal 4.7
Palestinian territory 4.6
Sudan 4.5
Mauritania 4.4
Western Sahara 4.3
Mayotte 4.2
Jordan 3.8
Djibouti 3.7
Pakistan 3.6
Tajikistan 3.4
Oman 3.3
Syria 3.2
Kyrgyzstan 3.0
Egypt 2.9
Saudi Arabia 2.9
Kazakhstan 2.7
Uzbekistan 2.7
Malaysia 2.6
Kosovo 2.5
Libya 2.5
Bangladesh 2.4
Maldives 2.4
Turkmenistan 2.4
Azerbaijan 2.3
Indonesia 2.3
Kuwait 2.3
Algeria 2.3
Morocco 2.2
Lebanon 2.1
Qatar 2.1
Tunisia 2.1
Turkey 2.1

USA 2.0

Bahrain 1.9
Iran 1.9
United Arab Emirates 1.8
Brunei 1.7
Albania 1.4

While the rates are impressively low in some countries--Iran, Turkey, and Indonesia jump out at me--Dr. Charlton is right: the picture is not as rosy as Eberstadt (the author) suggests. While Eberstadt does write that he is focusing on countries outside of sub-Saharan Africa, there are still many countries with high TFRs. Just focusing on the large countries, we could mention Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (which has 180 million people). And Eberstadt does say that, "Throughout the Ummah, fertility levels are falling dramatically." That makes it sounds like things are getting good globally, but look at those sub-Saharan numbers. Nigeria alone has 75 milllion people. With a TFR of 5.7, the country will double in size in a generation. (Nigeria's annual growth rate is 2.27 percent, so using the rule of 72, the country should double in size in  31.7 years.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Robert Wright on evolutionists vs. creationists

From the Atlantic:

A few decades ago, Darwinians and creationists had a de facto nonaggression pact: Creationists would let Darwinians reign in biology class, and otherwise Darwinians would leave creationists alone. The deal worked. I went to a public high school in a pretty religious part of the country--south-central Texas--and I don't remember anyone complaining about sophomores being taught natural selection. It just wasn't an issue.

A few years ago, such biologists as Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers started violating the nonaggression pact. [Which isn't to say the violation was wholly unprovoked; see my update below.] I don't just mean they professed atheism--many Darwinians had long done that; I mean they started proselytizing, ridiculing the faithful, and talking as if religion was an inherently pernicious thing. They not only highlighted the previously subdued tension between Darwinism and creationism but depicted Darwinism as the enemy of religion more broadly.

If the only thing this Darwinian assault did was amp up resistance to teaching evolution in public schools, the damage, though regrettable, would be limited. My fear is that the damage is broader--that fundamentalist Christians, upon being maligned by know-it-all Darwinians, are starting to see secular scientists more broadly as the enemy; Darwinians, climate scientists, and stem cell researchers start to seem like a single, menacing blur.

I'm not saying that the new, militant Darwinian atheists are the only cause of what is called (with perhaps some hyperbole) "science denialism." But I do think that if somebody wants to convince a fundamentalist Christian that climate scientists aren't to be trusted, the Christian's prior association of scientists like Dawkins with evil makes that job easier.

I reiterate that this theory is conjectural--so conjectural that "hypothesis" is a better word for it than "theory". The jury may remain out on it forever.

Meanwhile, some data to keep your eye on: Check out the extreme right of the graph above. Over the past two years, the portion of respondents who don't believe in evolution has grown by six percentage points. Where did those people come from? The graph suggests they're people who had previously believed in an evolution guided by God--a group whose size dropped by a corresponding six percentage points. It's as if people who had previously seen evolution and religion as compatible were told by the new militant Darwinians, "No, you must choose: Which is it, evolution or religion?"--and pretty much all of them chose religion.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The amazing decline in Muslim fertility

According to this study, fertility in much of the Ummah--the worldwide community of followers of Islam--has fallen in the past 20 years to levels comparable to the United States. If that isn't amazing enough, the data indicate that increased use of birth control and socioeconomic development have had little to do with it. (And the article doesn't even mention abortion as an explanation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but abortion is illegal and rare in many Muslim countries.)

By contrast, the correlation between desired and actual family size is extremely high in these countries. According to the author, the revolutionary change has been due to changes in individual family size preferences. He doesn't use the world culture, but that's what I would call it when people's preferences change collectively.

This dramatic worldwide decline should reduce immigration numbers and ease the assimilation problems in the developed world.

Data on gay marriage

This article shows, that based on extensive European experience, there is less enthusiasm for marriage and more enthusiasm for divorce among homosexuals (especially lesbians) compared to straights.

And this article describes a new study which improves on the methods of previous research and finds that kids in same-sex families turn out worse as a adults than children raised in two-parent biological families (perhaps because their childhoods were less stable).

Monday, June 11, 2012

The devout gay Mormon therapist with a wife and three kids

This is fascinating. It is the story of a devout gay Mormon therapist who has been happily married to a lovely (and understanding) woman for 10 years. He told her he was gay on a date when he was 16. Their sex is intimate, not a sexual turn-on for him, and they have three beautiful daughters. The girls, in turn, have what is their birthright--a mother and a father.

White teens and drunk driving

FBI data shows that if you're the parent of a black teenager, your child is disproportionately likely to commit just about any type of crime. But are there crimes that white parents need to be particularly concerned about? The answer is yes. Roughly 90 percent of juvenile arrestees for drunkenness, liquor law violations, and driving under the influence are white (or Hispanic).

Just last Saturday night I overheard my teenage neighbors say they were going to get "white girl trashed."

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Pakistani immigration to Norway increasing the incidence of progressive encephalopathy

Here's a recent study from The European Journal of Paediatric Neurology:
Progressive encephalopathy (PE) in children is a heterogeneous group of individually rare diseases with a cumulative incidence which compares to that of neural tube defects and infantile hydrocephalus. The main cause of PE is metabolic disease, but neurodegenerative disorders lacking known metabolic or other causes also exist. PE poses a challenge to our health care system due to difficulties in its diagnosis and management, 4–6 and a high case fatality. For example, in a cohort study we showed that the case fatality of PE was 36.9%. In the same cohort, the incidence rate was 6.4 per 100,000 person years at risk, and the cumulative incidence was 0.6 per 1000 live births, comparable to that of other reports.

Using data from this cohort combined with outstandingly detailed national-wide population statistics we wanted to pin point the increased risk of PE associated with consanguinity. Over the past 20 years there has been a six-fold increase in non-Western immigration to Norway (the nomenclature regarding non-Western has recently been suggested revised). In 2006, non-Western immigrants accounted for 18.6% of Oslo’s total population of 538,411 inhabitants. The largest non-Western group is from Pakistan. In Pakistan, approximately 60% of marriages are consanguineous and unions occur primarily between first cousins. Norway is the only country in the world collecting data on consanguinity for its entire population at birth. Approximately 50% of children of Pakistani origin born in Norway are the result of consanguineous unions, defined as parents who are second cousins or more closely related. Of first generation Pakistani immigrants, 43.9% were first cousins. In Norway, parental consanguinity in the Pakistani population is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth, congenital malformations, and infant death, all considered complex genetic conditions.

When autosomal recessive gene defects are rare, the likelihood of unrelated parents being carriers for the same defect is small. The less frequent the recessive gene, the stronger the likelihood that an affected individual is the product of a consanguineous mating. Since many of the diseases causing PE are determined by single mutant genes, for example in autosomal recessive inborn errors of metabolism, it was reasonable to assume that children of consanguineous unions had a higher risk of PE, and that PE consequently would be more common in children of Pakistani origin. However, the degree of increased risk of PE caused by consanguinity has not been precisely assessed in previous studies. Here we report an approximately seven-fold increased risk of PE in children of Pakistani origin and an eleven-fold increased risk when consanguineous Pakistanis were compared to the general Norwegian population. We also estimated that avoidance of consanguinity in the Pakistani population would result in 50% reduction of PE in this group.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Do people choose spouses who are like their parents?

New from the Journal of Research in Personality:
Both psychoanalytic views of attachment and evolutionary theories of imprinting suggest that mates may be preferentially chosen to resemble one’s parents. Using data from a large Dutch study of twins and their families, we tested these hypotheses with regard to personality traits from the Five-Factor Model. Little evidence of parent/spouse similarity was found, although women did tend to select a husband who resembled their parents with regard to Openness to Experience. This effect may be due to the influence of Openness on their social worlds, rather than to their experiences in early childhood.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Barone predicts America's demographic future

Michael Barone on U.S. demographic trends:
Since 1990, Americans have been moving out of California to other states in large numbers. The Golden State's population growth in the last two decades has reached the national average only because of Latin and Asian immigration.

That immigration, to California and elsewhere, is one of the two big demographic trends that have reshaped the country over the last 40 years. The other is the movement of vast numbers of people from high-tax states in the Northeast and industrial Midwest to lower-tax and more economically vibrant states elsewhere.

Both these movements have halted, at least temporarily. American mobility is near an all-time low. As in the Depression of the 1930s, people tend to stay put in hard times. You don't want to sell your house if you're underwater on your mortgage.

And immigration has plunged. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that from 2005 to 2010, more people have moved from the United States to Mexico than the other way around. I suspect that reverse migration is still going on.

The question is whether those trends will resume when -- if? -- good times return.

My prediction is that we won't ever again see the heavy Latin immigration we saw between 1983 and 2007, which averaged 300,000 legal immigrants and perhaps as many illegals annually.

Mexican and other Latin birthrates fell more than two decades ago. And Mexico, source of 60 percent of Latin immigrants, is now a majority-middle-class country.

Asian immigration may continue, primarily from China and India, especially if we have the good sense to change our laws to let in more high-skill immigrants.

But the next big immigration source, I think, will be sub-Saharan Africa. We may end up with prominent politicians who actually were born in Kenya.

Continued domestic out-migration from high-tax states? Certainly from California, where Gov. Jerry Brown wants to raise taxes even higher. With foreign immigration down, California is likely to grow more slowly than the nation, for the first time in history, and could even start losing population.

Fortunately, governors of some other high-tax states are itching to cut taxes. The shale oil and natural gas boom has job-seekers streaming to hitherto unlikely spots like North Dakota and northeast Ohio. Great Plains cities like Omaha and Des Moines are looking pretty healthy, too.

It's not clear whether Atlanta and its smaller kin -- Charlotte, Raleigh, Nashville, Jacksonville -- will resume their robust growth. They've suffered high unemployment lately.

But Texas has been doing very well. If you draw a triangle whose points are Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, enclosing Austin, you've just drawn a map of the economic and jobs engine of North America.

Texas prospers not just because of oil and gas, but thanks to a diversified and sophisticated economy. It has attracted large numbers of both immigrants and domestic migrants for a quarter century. One in 12 Americans lives there.

America is getting to look a lot more like Texas, and that's one trend that I hope continues.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Laziness and job status among blacks

In his book White Guilt, Shelby Steele argues that few blacks excel in high status jobs because they lack the required skills. From childhood they are told that failure is not their fault, so they never learn that they are responsible for their lack of skills. While other people are working hard to become competent to avoid feeling like failures, blacks don't fear failure; after all, it's not their doing, it's the system.

GSS data can give us some idea if a work ethic among blacks is as important as Steele thinks. Respondents were asked:  "To what extent do you agree or disagree that you see yourself as someone who tends to be lazy." Answers ranged from "strongly agree" (1) to "strongly disagree" (5). I calculated the means for those with low job prestige and those with high prestige. The mean work ethic score is 4.19 for the low-status group (n = 115) and 4.03 for the high-status group (n = 66). The two means are not signficantly different. According to these data, higher class blacks are no more hard working than their lower class counterparts. (The means indicate a bias toward thinking that one is not lazy, but this is not really a problem when comparing the two groups unless the bias is systematically stronger in one group than the other.)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Helmuth Nyborg interviews Richard Lynn

The current issue of Personality and Individual Differences is a tribute to Richard Lynn at age 80. Here is a portion of his conversation with Helmuth Nyborg that reviews his career:

HN: So then you needed a job.

RL: Yes, and I obtained a lectureship at the University of Exeter. I was now to enter the wilderness years and did not succeed in doing anything that I considered significant for the next twelve years. In 1959 I published a paper Environmental Conditions Affecting intelligence, in which I said that it was now established that genetic factors are the major determinant of intelligence, but that environmental factors are also involved. I proposed that these consisted of the quality and quantity of cognitive stimulation from others in the family. I suggested that this explained the tendency for only children to have the highest IQs, and for IQs to decline with increasing family size, and also that eldest and youngest children have higher average IQs than those in the middle of the family. I sent the paper to Sir Cyril Burt, who replied with a friendly letter saying that he agreed with me. After this, I corresponded with Sir Cyril from time to time and I always found him very friendly and helpful.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Prussian Americans most likely to serve in the U.S. military

Memorial Day is a good day to look at military data, and it happens to be an opportunity to echo Razib's call to mend, not end, the American Community Survey. The survey asked respondents their ancestry, and if they are now serving or ever served in the military. I limited the sample to native-born Americans and to people ages 20 to 39 in order to focus on a single cohort. I list the percentages who answered yes by their ancestry (sample size = 1.74 million) and since there are as many categories as countries in the world I only list groups with the highest and lowest numbers. The mediocre middle is left out.

Percent serving in the military now or in the past

Above-average groups

Prussian 12.7
South African 12.3
Guamanian 12.2
Germans from Russia 11.4
Okinawan 11.1
Panamanian 10.2
West Indian 9.9
Belizean 9.8
Indonesian 9.8
Scottish 9.4
Dutch West Indies 8.7
Pacific Islander 8.6
Sicilian 8.6
Scots Irish 8.1
Australian 8.0
African 8.0

Below-average groups

Haitian 3.8
Turkish 3.7
Arab 3.4
Egyptian 3.3
Vietnamese 3.0
Israeli 3.0
Iranian 3.0
Armenian 2.8
Palestinian 2.6
Chinese 2.4
Hmong 2.0
Asian Indian 1.9
Taiwanese 1.8
Pakistani 1.3
Macedonian 1.2
Iraqi 0.0

It's great that Prussians come out on top, but I suspect that some military folks are being selective in which part of their ancestry they identify with. The high-serving groups are an interesting assortment. Using GSS data, I reported in an earlier post that West Indians like Colin Powell are more likely to serve than most groups. Pacific Islanders have high numbers as do your well-known tough guys: the Scots Irish and Sicilians.

On the low end, you have Asians and Middle-Easterners. It looks like Muslims (and Israelis for that matter) don't like to serve, but does anyone know the religion of most American Indonesians?  Are they Muslims?

Also--Mexican-Americans, contrary to the claims of some, do not serve in high numbers. Between 4.4 and 5.3 percent serve or have served (depending on whether you focus on the "Mexican" or "Mexican-American" category). That's below the national average of 6.3 percent.

Are gun owners mentally ill?

  Some anti-gun people think owning a gun is a sign of some kind of mental abnormality. According to General Social Survey data, gun owners ...