This post closes our three-part series on Latinx nones. According to Pew nearly one-third of Latinxs under the age of 30 (in 2014) identified as nones. Only 36 percent said they were Catholic and about one-in-four were Protestant. In fact, Latinxs under 30 are almost three times more likely to identify as nones compared to Latinxs over 50 (32 percent vs. 12 percent).
If we look at the age distribution of religious groups among Latinxs, we see how young Latinx nones are. While all religious groups have similar proportions of people between 30 and 49 years of age, the nones are by far the youngest: 43 percent under age 30. Only one-in-five Catholic Latinxs are under 30.
Last week I showed that 1-in-5 Latinxs are nones, representing roughly 8 million Latinx adults in the United States. Today, in the second post of this three-part series, I show where Latinx nones come from. The vast majority of Latinx nones reported in the 2014 Pew Religious Landscape survey that they were raised Catholic when they were children. When adding up all the Christian groups, about 8-in-10 Latinxswho identify as nones were raised in a Christian tradition.
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We’re in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month. This is a good time to remember that there are a lot of Latinx nones in the United States. One-in-five, to be precise, according to PRRI. Just less than a decade ago, my former colleagues at the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (PRRI) found that 12 percent of Latinxs were nones. In just nine years, the nones have increased 67 percent in the Latinx population and roughly doubled from about four million, to more than eight million people. Below is a short infographic.
Next week, I’ll be writing about the past of Latinx nones. Where do the come from?
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Gene Demby has an informative piece using Kanye West’s right-turn as a starting point to explore ideology among Black Americans. He explains, with the help of some scholars, why black conservatives, who comprise a substantial segment of the African-American population, don’t tend to be Republicans. Part of the explanation is linked fate, defined in the article as “the belief among black folks that their individual prospects are tied to a collective well-being.” The concept, championed by political scientist Michael Dawson has been instrumental in the study of race and politics, especially electoral behavior and why groups vote as blocs, even when there are significant ideological cleavages.
Ismail White of George Washington University argues that linked fate is not the only mechanism explaining the homogeneity of the African American vote. There is also a peer pressure factor enforcing these voting patterns. From the article:
What White and and three other researchers found in a recent study is that social pressure from other black people is how this Democratic norm gets policed. They found that the expectations around this norm were so powerful that simply having a black questioner ask a black respondent about their voting preferences made that respondent more likely to say they were voting for a Democratic candidate.
Chryl Laird, one of the study’s authors, said this is how everyone votes. We like to think of our voting choices as purely rational, but we take cues from the people around us, especially when we don’t know much about a candidate or an issue. Laird said social influence and pressure partly explain why most white evangelical voters in Alabama supported Senate candidate Roy Moore last fall, even after he was accused of sexual misconduct involving minors.
My dissertation on Latinx politics explores why Latinx people overwhelmingly support one party even when there’s ideological diversity in the group. My conceptualization of ideology is entirely different since I avoid traditional”liberal-conservative” labels. Instead, I opt for a definition rooted in linked fate and identity that I call the “ethnic ideological heuristic.” My findings suggest that even among Latinx people who are traditionally conservative (in the way we understand conservatism in contemporary politics), the explicit racism of the GOP has been a deterrent. Latinx people don’t wholly trust the Democrats anyway and tend to have lower levels of partisan attachment as a result.
In summary, among African Americans and Latinxs, even when people have conservative ideas, these do not necessarily translate to support for the GOP for myriad reasons. But the principal one is that the white identity politics at the core of GOP conservatism is toxic even to people of color who agree with similar ideas.