January 25, 2010

How Religious is Your State?

How Religious is Your State?
Source: Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

Which of the 50 states has the most religious population? Since there are many ways to define "religious," there is no single answer to this question. But to give a sense of how the states stack up, the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life used polling data to rank them on four measures: the importance of religion in people's lives, frequency of attendance at worship services, frequency of prayer and absolute certainty of belief in God.

Check out an interactive graphic at pewforum.org to see how your state -- and all the other states -- rank according to each of the four measure. (States with sample sizes that are too small to analyze are combined. As a result, the lowest ranking is 46 rather than 50.)

Posted by ljridley at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2009

The “Zeal of the Convert”: Is It the Real Deal?

The “Zeal of the Convert”: Is It the Real Deal?
By: Allison Pond and Greg Smith
Source: Pew Research Center

A common perception about individuals who switch religions is that they are very fervent about their new faith. A new analysis by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life provides quantitative support for this piece of conventional wisdom often referred to as the "zeal of the convert."

The analysis finds that people who have switched faiths (or joined a faith after being raised unaffiliated with a religion) are indeed slightly more religious than those who have remained in their childhood faith, as measured by the importance of religion in their lives, the frequency with which they attend religious services and other measures of religious commitment.

However, the analysis also finds that the differences in religious commitment between converts and nonconverts are generally very small and are more apparent among some religious groups than among others.

Full text

Posted by ljridley at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2009

Mapping the Global Muslim Population

Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population
By The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 1.57 billion Muslims of all ages living in the world today, representing 23% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion.

While Muslims are found on all five inhabited continents, more than 60% of the global Muslim population is in Asia and about 20% is in the Middle East and North Africa. However, the Middle East-North Africa region has the highest percentage of Muslim-majority countries. Indeed, more than half of the 20 countries and territories in that region have populations that are approximately 95% Muslim or greater.

Full report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2009

Do Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws Affect Criminal Behavior?

Do Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws Affect Criminal Behavior?
By: J.J. Prescott (with Jonah E. Rockoff)
Population Studies Center Brown Bag Seminar, October 12, 2009

In recent decades, sex offenders have been the targets of some of the most far-reaching and novel crime legislation in the U.S. Two key innovations have been registration and notification laws which, respectively, require that convicted sex offenders provide valid contact information to law enforcement authorities, and that information on sex offenders be made public. Using detailed information on the timing and scope of changes in state law, we study how registration and notification affect the frequency of sex offenses and the incidence of offenses across victims, and we check for any change in police response to reported crimes. We find evidence that registration reduces the frequency of sex offenses by providing law enforcement with information on local sex offenders. As we predict from a simple model of criminal behavior, this decrease in crime is concentrated among “local” victims (e.g., friends, acquaintances, neighbors), while there is little evidence of a decrease in crimes against strangers. We also find evidence that community notification deters crime, but in a way unanticipated by legislators. Our results suggest that community notification deters first-time sex offenders, but may increase recidivism by registered offenders by increasing the relative attractiveness of criminal behavior. This finding is consistent with work by criminologists showing that notification may contribute to recidivism by imposing social and financial costs on registered sex offenders and, as a result, making non-criminal activity relatively less attractive. We regard this latter finding as potentially important, given that the purpose of community notification is the reduction of recidivism.

NBER Working Paper (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2009

Why Do People Give? The Role of Identity in Giving

Why Do People Give? The Role of Identity in Giving
By: Jennifer L. Aaker; Satoshi Akutsu
Source: Stanford Graduate School of Business Research Papers

Why do people give to others? One principal driver involves one’s identity: who one is and how they view themselves. The degree to which identities are malleable, involve a readiness to act, and help make sense of the world have significant implications determining whether and how much people give. Drawing on the Identity-Based Motivation model (IBM; Oyserman, 2009), we provide a tripartite framework to help advance the research on the psychology of giving.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2009

Is Personal Insecurity a Cause of Cross-National Differences in the Intensity of Religious Belief?

Is Personal Insecurity a Cause of Cross-National Differences in the Intensity of Religious Belief? An Interchange between Psychology and Religion
By: Tomas James Rees
Source: Journal of Religion and Society

The cause of cross-national differences in individual-level religiosity has a rich history of scholarly debate rooted in observations of an apparent decline in religiosity in the modern era. Numerous causal factors have been proposed. A prominent strand of thought, originally formulated by Weber, supposes that greater education, along with the free and open transmission and discussion of ideas, undermines superstitious or non-naturalistic thinking. Empirical support for this includes the observation that national-level religiosity and scientific productivity are inversely correlated (Jaffe). Another strand, rooted in the work of Durkheim, suggests that the displacement of religious social institutions by secular ones leads to the gradual loss of importance of religious ideas. Complicating the debate are the multitudinous definitions of the term “secularization,” which has come to refer variously to a decline in religious participation or a decline in individual piety.

Full text (HTML)
Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2009

American Religious Identification Survey 2008

American Religious Identification Survey 2008
Principal Investigators: Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar
Source: The Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC), Trinity College

From press release:

Conducted between February and November of last year, ARIS 2008 is the third in a landmark series of large, nationally representative surveys of U.S. adults in the 48 contiguous states conducted by Kosmin and Ariela Keysar. Employing the same research methodology as the 1990 and 2001 surveys, ARIS 2008 questioned 54,461 adults in either English or Spanish. With a margin of error of less than 0.5 percent, it provides the only complete portrait of how contemporary Americans identify themselves religiously, and how that self-identification has changed over the past generation.

Download sections or full report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2008

Americans Believe Religious Values Are 'Under Attack'

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood
Source: Anti-Defamation League

A majority of the American people believes that religious values are "under attack," and that the people who run the television networks and major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans, according to a survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued today.

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood, a national poll of 1,000 American adults conducted in October 2008 by The Marttila Communications Group, found that 61% of the American people continue to believe that religious values in this country are "under attack." The poll also found that 59% of Americans agree that "the people who run the TV networks and the major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans."

Press Release; Poll Results (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2008

Poll: Concerns About Racial Tensions Decline Sharply In America

American Attitudes on Immigration and Diversity
Source: Anti-Defamation League

There has been a steep decline in concerns about racial tensions in America over the past 15 years, according to a newly released poll from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The poll also found a significant majority — 66% — views the growth of America’s minority populations as advantageous to the economy and society.

American Attitudes on Immigration and Diversity, a national poll of 1,000 American adults conducted on October 26, 2008 by the Marttila Communications Group, found that only one-third of the American people believes that racial tensions are increasing in this country. That is a substantial decline from 1992, when three-quarters of the American people expressed the same sentiment.

The poll also found that 66% of Americans view the country’s population growth due to immigration as “an advantage for America.? The poll was released during the League’s 2008 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

Press Release; Full Results (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood
Source: Anti-Defamation League

A majority of the American people believes that religious values are "under attack," and that the people who run the television networks and major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans, according to a survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued today.

The survey was conducted by the Marttila Communications Group, a Boston-based public opinion research firm that has conducted numerous national surveys for ADL measuring American attitudes on a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3.09 percent. For many questions, the survey used the technique of split sampling," a process in which the 1,000 sample was split into two demographically representative national samples of 500 respondents each. The margin of error for questions answered by 500 respondents is +/- 4.38 percent.

Press Release; Poll (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2008

Inside Obama’s Sweeping Victory

Inside Obama’s Sweeping Victory
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Barack Obama captured the White House on the strength of a substantial electoral shift toward the Democratic Party and by winning a number of key groups in the middle of the electorate. Overall, 39% of voters were Democrats while 32% were Republicans — a dramatic shift from 2004 when the electorate was evenly divided. The Democratic advantage in Election Day party identification was significantly larger than in either of Bill Clinton’s victories.

Posted by ljridley at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2008

Childrearing, Family Formation and Voting

The Big Sort, a blog by Bill Bishop on Slate.com, had a posting on Tuesday about the predictive nature of childrearing practices, family formation attitude and voting practices.

Spank Your Kids? You Likely Vote Republican

Posted by ljridley at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2008

Genetics of Political Participation

Why Do People Vote? Genetic Variation in Political Participation
James H. Fowler, Christopher T. Dawes, Laura A. Baker
Source: American Political Science Review

The decision to vote has puzzled scholars for decades. Theoretical models predict little or no variation in participation in large population elections and empirical models have typically accounted for only a relatively small portion of individual-level variance in turnout behavior.However, these models have not considered the hypothesis that part of the variation in voting behavior can be attributed to genetic effects. Matching public voter turnout records in Los Angeles to a twin registry, we study the heritability of political behavior in monozygotic and dizygotic twins. The results show that a significant proportion of the variation in voting turnout can be accounted for by genes.We also replicate these results with data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and show that they extend to a broad class of acts of political participation. These are the first findings to suggest that humans exhibit genetic variation in their tendency to participate in political activities.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2008

Changing Western Values

Changing Values among Western Publics from 1970 to 2006
Ronald F. Inglehart
Source: World Values Survey

In 1971 it was hypothesised that intergenerational value changes were taking place. More than a generation has passed since then, and today it seems clear that the predicted changes have occurred. A large body of evidence, analysed using three different approaches -- (1) cohort analysis; (2) comparisons of rich and poor countries; (3) examination of actual trends observed over the past 35 years -- all points to the conclusion that major cultural changes are occurring, and that they reflect a process of intergenerational change linked with rising levels of existential security.

Download Document (PDF); Download Survey Data Files

Posted by ljridley at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2008

Pew Forum on Religion in the U.S.

U.S.Religious Landscape Survey. Religious Beliefs and Practices: Diverse and Politically Relevant
Source: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life today released its second report on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, which finds that while many Americans are highly religious, most are not dogmatic in their approach to faith. This new analysis examines the diversity of Americans’ religious beliefs and practices as well as their social and political attitudes. It follows the first report of the Landscape Survey, which was published in February 2008 and detailed the size, internal changes and demographic characteristics of major religions in the United States.

Summary; Full Report (PDF)

Report #1 on Religious Affiliation may be found here.

Posted by ljridley at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

Census Won't Count Gay Marriages

Census Won't Count Gay Marriages
Christopher Lee | Washington Post

Although gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts and California, census officials say that same-sex partners in both states who list themselves as spouses will be recorded as "unmarried partners" -- just as they were in the 2000 census.

Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner cited the Defense of Marriage Act, approved by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing as a marriage the union of anyone but a man and a woman.

Posted by lisan at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2008

Health Care and Behavioral Economics

Health Care and Behavioral Economics
Source: Congressional Budget Office
CBO Director Peter Orszag’s presentation to the National Academy of Social Insurance

I suspect, on the basis of similar logic, that workers demand less efficiency from the health system than they would if they knew the full cost that they pay via forgone wages for coverage or if they knew the actual cost of the services being provided. I similarly suspect that making the underlying costs associated with employment-based insurance more transparent may prove to be quite important in containing health care costs. As transparency increases and workers see how much their income is being reduced for employers’ contributions and what those contributions are paying for, there may be a broader change in cost-consciousness that shifts demand. For workers and dependents with employment-based insurance, deductibles and copayments account for only about a fifth of their health care spending. The remainder comes from insurance premiums, only a quarter of which are paid directly by workers.

PDF of NASI speech

Posted by ljridley at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2008

Sex selective abortions in India

Indian Prime Minister denounces Abortion of Females
Amelia Gentleman | NY TIMES
April 29, 2008

Story based on an article in Lancet:
Low male-to-female sex ratio of children born in India: national survey of 1.1 million households
Lancet 2006 (January): pages 211-218

Posted by lisan at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2008

North American Jewish Databank

National studies that identify the Jewish population in the United States:

Community-based studies:

Terms of use to access data:

Posted by lisan at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2008

Many Muslims Turn to Home Schooling

"Resolute or Fearful, Many Muslims Turn to Home Schooling"
Neil MacFarquhar | NY TIMES
March 26, 2008
Across the United States, Muslims who find that a public school education clashes with their religious or cultural traditions have turned to educating their children at home.

Posted by lisan at 05:02 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2008

The Science of Sex Differences in Science and Mathematics

Source: Psychological Science in the Public Interest
By: Diane F. Halpern, Camilla P. Benbow, David C. Geary, Ruben C. Gur, Janet Shibley Hyde, and Morton Ann Gernsbacher

Amid ongoing public speculation about the reasons for sex differences in careers in science and mathematics, we present a consensus statement that is based on the best available scientific evidence. Sex differences in science and math achievement and ability are smaller for the mid-range of the abilities distribution than they are for those with the highest levels of achievement and ability. Males are more variable on most measures of quantitative and visuospatial ability, which necessarily results in more males at both high- and low-ability extremes; the reasons why males are often more variable remain elusive. Successful careers in math and science require many types of cognitive abilities. Females tend to excel in verbal abilities, with large differences between females and males found when assessments include writing samples. High-level achievement in science and math requires the ability to communicate effectively and comprehend abstract ideas, so the female advantage in writing should be helpful in all academic domains. Males outperform females on most measures of visuospatial abilities, which have been implicated as contributing to sex differences on standardized exams in mathematics and science. An evolutionary account of sex differences in mathematics and science supports the conclusion that, although sex differences in math and science performance have not directly evolved, they could be indirectly related to differences in interests and speci ic brain and cognitive systems. We review the brain basis for sex differences in science and mathematics, describe consistent effects, and identify numerous possible correlates. Experience alters brain structures and functioning, so causal statements about brain differences and success in math and science are circular. A wide range of sociocultural forces contribute to sex differences in mathematics and science achievement and ability—including the effects of family, neighborhood, peer, and school in luences; training and experience; and cultural practices. We conclude that early experience, biological factors, educational policy, and cultural context affect the number of women and men who pursue advanced study in science and math and that these effects add and interact in complex ways. There are no single or simple answers to the complex questions about sex differences in science and mathematics.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

The Opium Brides of Afghanistan

The Opium Brides of Afghanistan
By Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau | NEWSWEEK
April 7, 2008

Posted by lisan at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

The Curious Lives of Surrogates

The Curious Lives of Surrogates
Lorraine Ali and Raina Kelley | NEWSWEEK
April 7, 2008

Posted by lisan at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

Single Mothers in China

Single Mothers in China Forge a Difficult Path
Howard French | NY TIMES
April 6, 2008

Posted by lisan at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2008

Getting More Stodgy? Maybe Not

Washington Post
Getting More Stodgy? Maybe Not
Susan Morse
March 11, 2008

Source: Danigelis, Nicholas L.; Hardy, Melissa; Cutler, Stephen J. 2007. "Population Aging, Intracohort Aging, and Sociopolitical Attitudes." American Sociological Review, Volume 72, Number 5, (October): 812-830

Posted by lisan at 10:13 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2008

Are Scientists Playing God?

Are Scientists Playing God? It depends on your religion
John Tierney | NY TIMES
Nov 20, 2007

Posted by lisan at 05:06 AM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2008

American Election Returns, 1787-1825

A New Nation Votes provides data from America’s earliest elections. It includes more than presidential election returns. Data run from governor races to the county coroner. The geographic coverage extends to the 25 states that existed during this time frame. The site is still in progress, but already includes 15,000 elections. This is about one-quarter of the eventual total. The website is based on the research of Philip Lampi.


Posted by lisan at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

Surrogate mothers – India, Japan, and a blog with comments

Japan's surrogate mothers emerge from shadows
Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:52pm EDT

India Nurtures Business of Surrogate Motherhood
Published: March 10, 2008
Reproductive outsourcing is a new but rapidly expanding business, as word spreads of India’s mix of skilled medical professionals, relatively liberal laws and low prices.

Outsourced Wombs
Judith Warner
January 3, 2008
[blog commenting on India article, with reader comments]

Posted by lisan at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

Urban teens who feel safe more future oriented

Middle schoolers who feel safe and have positive community experiences are more able to delay gratification and less likely to fight. Researchers: Daniel Kruger, Thomas Reischl, Marc Zimmerman (Univ of Michigan).

Posted by nebarr at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

February 28, 2008

U.S. Religious Landscape Survey

Source: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older, this extensive survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details the religious affiliation of the American public. This online section includes dynamic tools that complement the full report.

Posted by yanfu at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)