Poor teenagers' religion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Empirical research has ignored the effects of poverty on adolescent religion even though children are far more likely than adults to live in poverty in the United States. The current research demonstrates considerable differences in the religious activities and religious viewpoints of poor and non-poor, American teenagers. Analysis of National Study of Youth and Religion survey data shows that while poor teenagers are especially likely to pray, read religious scriptures, and report high levels of personal faith, they are unlikely to regularly participate in organized religious activities. Other findings include poor teenagers' emphasis on role reversal in the afterlife, their apparently conventional levels of interaction with secular society, and their low likelihood of reporting the types of emotional religious experiences that are commonly associated with lower class religion. The findings highlight the important role poverty plays in shaping the religious outlooks and activities of adolescents, as well as the need for researchers to consider the role of social class when analyzing Americans' religious beliefs and activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-149
Number of pages25
JournalSociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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