Black Catholicism and Secular Status: Integration, Conversion, and Consolidation

Abstract

Examines the effect of Catholic religious affiliation on the socioeconomic status of black Americans, focusing on the role of racial integration & conversion to Catholicism. A secondary analysis of personal interviews from the 1984 National Alcohol Survey was performed to determine secular status differences between black Protestants & Catholics (N = 1,557 & 144, respectively). Controlling for background, demographic, & contextual factors, analyses revealed regional & generational patterns distinctive to black Catholics. While black Catholics were more likely to attend racially integrated churches in all regions, socioeconomic advantages were found only for those living in the North. Also, converts to Catholism had advantages in socioeconomic status among older black Catholics; however, among younger black Catholics, a socioeconomic advantage was associated only with being raised in families with higher status. It is concluded that, although conversion to Catholicism was an important component of status attainment for earlier generations of black Americans, it no longer has a decisive effect. 4 Tables, 15 References. Adapted from the source document.

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