Falling Fortunes: Sectarian Protestantism and Occupational Mobility

Upward and Downward Mobility Ratios compared to Sectarians: White Men GSS 1973-20008

I’ve been working on several things on religion and stratification, and one of them looks at occupational attainment. We know that there is a stratification hierarchy of religion, and despite claims that denominational differences have declined, no serious study has found anything other than persistent differences—liberal protestants and Jews have more education, more lucrative occupations, higher incomes, and greater wealth. But, does religion play a role in intergenerational mobility? Conservative Christian activist scholars suggest that the values of conservative religion foster better childrearing outcomes (with no proof, of course), and if this is true then sectarian christian children should be more likely to outdistance daddy in occupational attainment, right? And, if daddy holds a professional occupation, a sectarian boy will be much more likely to also follow in the steps of the limp patriarch, eh? No.

Above I present the odds ratios comparing the relative odds of upward mobility (attaining a professional occupation when your father  was in a manual job) and downward mobility  (holding a manual job when your father was a professional) for white men in the GSS. Sectarians are significantly less likely to become professionals if their father held a manual job when compared to any other religious grouping.  Worse yet, sectarian Protestants reared by fathers with professional occupations are significantly more likely to hold manual jobs when compared to respondents with other religious attachments. Notably, moderate Protestants, Catholics, Other Religions, and respondents with no religious identification are remarkably similar in their rates of upward and downward mobility. Liberal protestants are strongly advantaged when compared to all other groups with the exception of Jews, who outdistance the mainliners almost two to one on upward mobility.


One Response to “Falling Fortunes: Sectarian Protestantism and Occupational Mobility”

  1. Up from Goshen - Religion & Public Life With Mark Silk Says:

    […] Up Award. Iranian Redneck Darren Sherkat, playing his usual games with the General Social Survey, demonstrates that if you really want your kid to go to med school, convert to […]

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