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Religions 2015, 6(3), 781-793;

Congregational Size and Attitudes towards Racial Inequality among Church Attendees in America

Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, 3715 McClintock Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
Department of Sociology, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97326, Waco, TX 76798, USA
Department of Sociology, The University of Chicago, 5801 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Christine Soriea Sheikh
Received: 10 September 2014 / Revised: 15 March 2015 / Accepted: 18 May 2015 / Published: 25 June 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Race-Ethnicity and American Religion: Solidarities and Separations)
Full-Text   |   PDF [208 KB, uploaded 26 June 2015]


Research suggests that congregational characteristics are associated with the racial attitudes of American churchgoers. This study examines the relationship between congregational size and beliefs about the Black/White socioeconomic gap among religious adherents. Method. Drawing upon data from the General Social Survey and the National Congregations Study, we fit binary logistic regression models to estimate the association between congregational size and Americans’ explanations of Black/White economic inequality. Results. Findings reveal that attendees of larger congregations are less likely than attendees of smaller congregations to explain racial inequality as the result of the racial discrimination. The likelihood of explaining racial inequality in terms of personal motivation does not vary by congregation size. Conclusion. Despite the growing diversity in larger congregations in America, such congregations may steer attendees’ views about racial inequality away from systemic/structural factors, which may attenuate the ability of such congregations to bridge racial divisions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Racial attitudes; congregation size; church attendance; racial inequality Racial attitudes; congregation size; church attendance; racial inequality
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cobb, R.J.; Dougherty, K.D.; Park, J.Z.; Perry, S.L. Congregational Size and Attitudes towards Racial Inequality among Church Attendees in America. Religions 2015, 6, 781-793.

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