Local Religious Subcultures and Generalized Social Trust in the United States

Using multilevel analyses of 21,193 General Social Survey respondents nested within 256 metropolitan areas and counties, we find that individuals' willingness to trust others is strongly related to the denominational make-up of geographic areas. The percent of evangelical Protestants in the pop...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Journal for the scientific study of religion
Authors: Marshall, Joey ; Olson, Daniel V. 1953-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Wiley-Blackwell [2018]
[publisher not identified]
In: Journal for the scientific study of religion
Year: 2018, Volume: 57, Issue: 3, Pages: 473-494
Standardized Subjects / Keyword chains:B USA / Subculture / Religious minority / Interpersonal relationship / Trust
Further subjects:B religious ecology
B Religious Context
B Trust
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:Using multilevel analyses of 21,193 General Social Survey respondents nested within 256 metropolitan areas and counties, we find that individuals' willingness to trust others is strongly related to the denominational make-up of geographic areas. The percent of evangelical Protestants in the population negatively predicts individual-level generalized trust, while percent mainline Protestant and percent Catholic positively predict trust. The effect sizes of these results are large and robust to statistical controls, and they hold even among nonmembers of the religious groups; for instance, "percent evangelical" predicts lower trust even among nonevangelicals. Black Protestant population share initially appears to predict lower trust, but the association disappears after adjusting for racial residential segregation. Following a longstanding theoretical tradition in the sociology of religion, we argue that the religious characteristics of places-not just individuals-shape local subcultures in ways that affect a broad range of behaviors, attitudes, and values such as generalized trust.
ISSN:1468-5906
Contains:Enthalten in: Journal for the scientific study of religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1111/jssr.12539