Discuss some possible reasons why...Jewish people have the highest incomes, levels of education, and occupational prestige of any religion in the U.S.; also discuss why Jehovah’s witnesses have...

Discuss some possible reasons why...

Jewish people have the highest incomes, levels of education, and occupational prestige of any religion in the U.S.; also discuss why Jehovah’s witnesses have the lowest? Some studies suggests that as social class changes, people change religions. Do you agree with the direction of this sociological finding/assumption? Why/Why not?

Asked on by matt09

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

While there can be correlations made, I think that there is an inherent challenge in attempting to boldly forge a link between any ethnic/ religious group with income level/ education.  There are multiple factors that converge in these settings, and ethnicity might be one of many reasons.  Additionally, when these links are forged, it creates a situation where individuals are slightly locked into stratified roles and this becomes inaccurate so long as examples that prove the opposite exist.  For example, a person who does not have a high level of education and makes a small income and is Jewish would disprove the original thesis, or at least bring it into questions.  While we might be able to speculate in terms of how ethnicity/ race might correlate to education level and economic success, we are not fully able to forge that link between the two because of the presence of multiple factors that converge in allowing the reality to exist.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would speculate that the main reason that Jewish people have the highest incomes, etc, is because they self-selected in terms of coming to the United States.

The majority of American Jews came to this country during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  They were coming from Germany and from Eastern Europe.  The people who had the initiative and the ability to get all the way here from there were clearly the ones with the most drive.  It stands to reason that such people would end up with higher status than a more random group.

A second reason is that they were discriminated against and therefore had to keep largely to themselves.  This made them build communities that were quite close and, therefore, put pressure on one another to conform.

So, you have a group of highly motivated people who stick together and pressure each other to remain motivated...

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