Religious Affiliation among Blacks in the United States: Black Catholic Status Advantages Revisited

Abstract
A secondary analysis was conducted of data from 4,381 black respondents to the 1972-1994 General Social Surveys, employing both descriptive statistics & dummy variable regression analyses to examine trends in religious affiliation within nationwide samples, by region, & for different birth cohorts. Results indicate that (1) there has been a clear decline in membership in segregated black churches; (2) black Catholics have higher status than most blacks, but are not clearly distinctive in that regard; & (3) there are few general connections between conversion & higher secular status, though there are some limited conversion effects specific to the experience of different generations. The segregated black church is losing membership, & blacks are moving to more racially integrated affiliations. Historically white affiliations, eg, Catholicism, appear not to be experiencing growing black membership by processes of conversion, as they once did. Instead, there is membership growth in fundamentalist affiliations, which are also more integrated than the historically black denominations. Black Catholicism may still convey a status advantage on elements of the black middle class, but it is no longer the major integrated alternative to the mainstream black denominations. 4 Tables, 24 References. Adapted from the source document.

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