Sex, Race, Religion and Ideology

I don't know whether the same or similar patterns hold true in other countries, but I've noticed three facts about American political and religious demography which, when considered in conjunction, puzzle me:

(1) White males are statistically more conservative than the general population.
(2) Atheists are statistically more liberal than the general population.
(3) A disproportionate number of atheists are white males.

I don't have even a conjecture to explain these seemingly incongruous statements. I'm really just wondering out loud. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment.



Anonymous said...

One thing you need to look at is how are you defining "conservative" and "liberal".

Liberal and conservative are not defined in black and white. There are social, economical, and governmental sides for both, with varying degrees in each. I would think the far "left" and "right" tend to bunch up on most on either side for all of them.

Zatarra said...

I understand that a single axis is insufficient for the purpose of comparing political ideologies in depth, but that doesn't mean the trends don't hold in general and warrant consideration.

Sebatinsky said...

Here's my take:

Atheists generally have a higher level of education than theists. I think this is partly because education exposes you to ideas that explain the world better than religion.

I would say that the bigger part is leisure time. You have to have a pretty large amount of leisure time to spend the time necessary just thinking about things or having long conversations about belief and metaphysics.

Disproportionately, white males have a higher education and more leisure time (White women might still have them beat on leisure time, but not the way they might have in the past).

Atheists are a small enough portion of the population (less than 10%, it seems) that a bunch of liberal white male atheists are not going to change the demographic significantly.