Religious adherence and unemployment
Francis, Luke E.
University of Wisconsin--Whitewater
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This paper looks at the relationship between unemployment and religious adherence, as a proxy for religiosity. Using data from the Year 2000 US Census and data from the Associate of Religions Data Archives of the same year at the county level, I find that after controlling for variables in the economy, unemployment has a negative effect on religious adherence. However, there is no evidence that religious adherence has an effect on unemployment, holding the same variables constant. This shows that in times of high unemployment, fewer individuals will attend religious services. The result is that religious institutions may lose funding from two sources in high unemployment. First, congregants may lose their jobs and be less able to donate. Second, some will leave the religious institution, taking their donations with them. In order to prepare for this, religious institutions should consider budgeting for poor economic times in times of low unemployment, in order to maintain the same level of programming and services when funding decreases.