"Is Your Religion Your Financial Destiny?" is the headline of an article in Sunday's New York Times magazine that has already been published on the Times Web site. The article reports, "The most affluent of the major religions — including secularism — is Reform Judaism. Sixty-seven percent of Reform Jewish households made more than $75,000 a year at the time the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life collected the data, compared with only 31 percent of the population as a whole. Hindus were second, at 65 percent, and Conservative Jews were third, at 57 percent."
It concludes: "Some of the income differences probably stem from culture. Some faiths place great importance on formal education. But the differences are also self-reinforcing. People who make more money can send their children to better schools, exacerbating the many advantages they have over poorer children. Round and round, the cycle goes. It won't solve itself."
Talk about your unstated assumptions. The assertion seems to be that uneven income distribution by religion is a problem that should somehow be "solved." Maybe the government, or the Times, could just cause everyone to convert to the same religion and "solve" the problem that way. Or make sure that after tax, everyone earns exactly the same amount of income.
The Times article, alas, doesn't seem to link the Pew data, but for those interested, it's here. The survey seems to have included a grand total of 162 Conservative Jews and 220 Hindus, so the margin of sampling error for the income questions (which usually get a higher number of non-responses anyway) is probably so high that the distinctions between "most affluent," "second," and "third" are statistically meaningless. But the Times doesn't get into that, either.