February 19, 2008

Religious People Earn Less

The above graph shows a correlation between religiosity and earnings based on the GDP of several countries. The graph shows that the more religious a nation is* the less they earn.

Now correlation doesn't demonstrate causation, But there is a link there somewhere. Perhaps lower educated people are more likely to be religious (my personal theory as previous studies have shown the religious to have on average a lower IQ) or perhaps poverty makes people more likely to turn to faith.

Whatever conclusions you want to draw from this graph, There is a link between earnings and religiosity.

* Religiosity is measured using a three-item index ranging from 0-3, with 3 representing the maximum religious position. Respondents were given a +1 if they believe faith in God is necessary for morality; and +1 if they say religion is very important in their lives; and +1 if they pray at least once a day.


  1. Perhaps it is that those that are doing well financially feel (wrongly) that they don't need God.

    You said it yourself and it's been well stated before: "Correlation doesn't show causation."

    For example, it's like saying that ozone depletion is caused by the decline of pirates on the high seas. As pirates have declined, so has the ozone layer. They aren't related directly in any way.

  2. Statistics, statistics and other lies. I feel I should tell you all about the statistician who drowned crossing a river with an average depth of half a meter.