Take a guess: what religion boasts the highest earners?
“A rabbi, a priest and a minister walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, ‘What is this, a joke?’”
Often, our religion defines us. But does it also define our earning power?
The New York Times conducted a study recently to find which faiths earned the top family incomes. What won’t surprise you is the religions that boast the highest level of education also make the most money. Where each religion falls on the rankings, though, you might not see coming.
Just as everyone takes a peak at what the guy next to him popped in the church collection plate, all religions must be at least a little curious to see where others stand. Not in a “covet thy neighbour” kind of way, more in a “Jesus, how does Bob afford an Audi on that salary?” type inquiry.
According to the Times’ David Leonhardt, Hindus and Jews are the most prolific-earning religions based on family income in the U.S. – about 48 per cent of Hindus make $100,000 or more in family income each year, while 35 per cent of Jews (both Reform Jews, at no. 2 on the list, and Conservative Jews, at no. 3 on the list, earn at the same clip) bring home more than the $100K mark.
Rounding out the rest of the top 10: Unitarians (29 per cent earn more than $100,000 in annual family income); Buddhists (26 per cent); Anglicans/Episcopalians (25 per cent); Orthodox Christians (18 per cent); Presbyterians (18 per cent); Secular (16 per cent); and Methodists (13 per cent).
Lower on the list are more prominent religions. About 10 per cent of Mormon, Catholic and Muslim families earn $100,000 or more each year, while Jehovah’s Witnesses – at three per cent of families raking in $100K – are the lowest-earning faith, according to the poll.
Draw whatever conclusions from these numbers that you will, but also note that, almost uniformly, the more education certain religious followers hold leads to higher family incomes. About 84 per cent of Hindus in the U.S. have “at least some college” education (43 per cent have post-grad degrees), while about 81 per cent of Jews have at least some post-secondary education (about 49 per cent have post-grad degrees).
Do you feel some religions preach the importance of money (careful, commenters) more so than others? Does your faith, in addition to providing spiritual guidance, prepare you for financial ambition?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
*Follow Jason on Twitter here.
Posted by: Lee Bice-Matheson | May 18, 2021 10:04:37 AM
My humble opinion is this: people who are strong in their faith, whatever it may be, believe in a higher good for all. This faith influences decisions they make in their life, which is primarily a positive outcome. Plus, they envision success in their life on behalf of their families, not so much for their ego, but for the good of all. Lee
Posted by: Paul. | May 18, 2021 12:14:58 PM
It seems that $$$$$$$ takes over,but as messengers of god (?)should show some restreint and GIVE to the poor more that anyone else if only to serve as example.The mighty dollar.....don't do as I do but do what I tell you to do (give me your money honey)Here in Lennoxville QC,some representative of God drives a Mercedes (one of his cars) obscene ?How much do you think I would give every Sunday ?
Posted by: lisa | May 18, 2021 12:55:08 PM
I don't see the purpose of trying to correlate religion with wealth unless you're engaging in "sensationalism journalism" . Unfortunately these types of articles tend to "fuel the fire" of negative stereotypes (ie: Nazi Germany). I ask if the small bit of extra attention the author gets is worth the potential long term fallout.
Posted by: richard | May 18, 2021 2:15:48 PM
Pew Research has often done this comparison. There is a DEFINITE link between Faith and Education (and it is interesting to note that Jehovah's Witnesses have the LEAST education), and there is a DEFINITE link between Education and Earning Potential. It therefore stands to reason that there is a link between Faith and Earning Potential.
Posted by: shannon | May 18, 2021 2:29:51 PM
I would want to think that we'd strive to have a life style that reflects our love of God and his Son, Jesus. Jesus was looked down upon because he had no wealth..and road into the city on a donkey. If this was the most faithful, devout man that ever lived, then the example is simple: money means little for status..his whole job being here was about preaching about God's coming Kingdom and how to treat others. His apostles were 'unlettered and ordinary' (acts 4:13) and led a life of teaching others. So does having money and education make one more faithful to God? Not one bit.
Posted by: the second guesser | May 18, 2021 3:30:34 PM
I agree with Richard. The least educated are the ones who tend to be involved in churches/religion. Which religion boasts the highest earners? The religion with the leader(s) who is best at manipulating their followers out of their money--whether they have alot or a little.
Posted by: BobP | May 18, 2021 4:59:31 PM
According to scripture, the Jews are a blessed people. This blessing is and has been evident throughout history. God also promised health and prosperity to all who "supported" Isreal (look at the nations who support her, The West-in general). As for the Hindu religion, two things come to mind, they promote peace and a strong work ethic. They have not not historically opposed Isreal and they are, generally speaking, very hard workers.........this should "at least" cause you to thin. Incidentally my income is just under $200k and I am Pentecostal(a follower of Christ's teachings), we do give liberally to many causes, not sure how this fits into the profile....
Posted by: Diwa | May 18, 2021 6:24:21 PM
This article doesn't make too much sense to me. Most hindus in the US are immigrants from India or their kids. Most hindus from India came to US to study post-grad or UG school, and settled in high-paying tech jobs. That's why the hindu population segment is so skewed at being the cream of the crop.
True hindus' compensation should be considered for across the world, and while the importance for education is strongly imbibed in the religion / culture, the gross family income is about average, since a huge % of people in India fall below the poverty line.
In my opinion, the other religious sects in the US are represented correctly in the article.
Posted by: Dr. J. S. | May 18, 2021 8:47:28 PM
I have no religion. I am also in the the top 5 percent of highest earners in this country. I also have the highest level of education. I have a strong work ethic. I believe in treating others fairly and would never screw someone over to get ahead. I do not need a religion to teach me these qualities.
Posted by: tom sheepandgoats | May 18, 2021 8:59:08 PM
If members of a faith strived to apply the Bible in their lives, would that not, in itself, put them at the low end of the spectrum? Any number of passages advise living simply. For example, from 1 Tim:
"For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out. So, having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things."
Posted by: Karen Sue Gibbs | May 18, 2021 10:07:38 PM
And the purpose of this article and debate was??????
Posted by: frmmtl | May 18, 2021 11:08:05 PM
The link between faith and wealth seems tenuous and moot. We already know that statistically minority groups that come from South Asia (where most Hindus are from) account for an un proportionate amount of students in universities, especially in professional faculties. As mentioned in the article, Hindus (and by some extension South Asians, whether Hindu or otherwise) and Jews are, statistically, highly educated. Therefore, the correlation should be that there is a stronger link between faith and education than there is between faith and wealth. Wealth is a product of education, not of faith. Moreover, it may not be faith that pushes people to seek an education but the cultural milieu from which these people emerge from. I guarantee that there is a stronger correlation between ethnicity and education than there is between faith and education. If we took a sample of South Asians (which include a large Muslim population), I'm sure that you'd find that South Asian Muslims also account as some of the top earners as well.
Posted by: our bnb | May 18, 2021 11:15:31 PM
I find it particularly interesting how defensive many are of the fact that they are high wage earners. Is that guilt at not being religious enough? Not sure. Also interesting that Jehovah's Witnesses are the low income earners and yet are able to spear head their preaching campaigns worldwide, and continue a growth unprecendented in any of the other "richer" faiths Hmmmm.
Posted by: NotCathy | May 19, 2021 3:14:08 AM
I have'nt know this before, I think hindus and Jew's are blessed not only on their faith but in as well as in financial status.
Posted by: Troy Jollimore | May 19, 2021 8:41:18 AM
"...it is easier for a camel (or a thick rope, depending on the translation) to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God."
"...do not rely on yourselves...but rather rely on God...for when I am weak, I am powerful."
Because money tends to be the foundation for believing more in your own strength (and starting to ignore God, the source of greater strength), Jesus taught that material possessions and wealth, while needed, shouldn't be things to be sought after, and definitely shouldn't be central to your life. There IS something to the 'Spiritual Strength' that is talked about, though most people find it hard to tap into.
As for equating religion with intelligence, this is impossible. But for level of education, for years the Witnesses emphasized the importance of Spiritual learning, growth and teaching, and discouraged it's younger followers to pursue higher education. With today's rising costs and lack of easy-to-find 'manual labour' jobs, they had become more neutral with that policy.
The well-educated and informed people aren't wrong in thinking that living a 'good life' and treating others well is the way to go. Why, religious teachings are foolish when they talk about an upcoming Armageddon or Rapture, where faithful followers will be rewarded and anyone else will be called to account and 'punished' for their 'error in judgement'... Unless, of course, it actually happens. ;)
Posted by: Joe | May 25, 2021 7:51:06 AM
BobP, lol so the way to get rich is to support Israel? Wow. Forget school.