The Ties That Bind: Exploring The Relationship Between Denominational Affiliation And SocioEconomic Status

Date of Graduation

Summer 2001


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Judith Meyer


Max Weber was the first scholar to explore the correlation between religion and socioeconomic status. In his 1904 landmark work, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Weber introduced and defined a class structure within Christian Protestant denominations during the Industrial Revolution in England. He suggested that people align themselves with religious denominations that reflect their socioeconomic status. For this thesis, Weber's theory was tested on Springfield, Missouri Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) by collecting data in questionnaire form from area churches. Data was tabulated, mapped, analyzed, and compared with Weber's theory. Data was also collected concerning the interest among ministers to develop a grant program similar to the British Church Urban Fund which would allot funds to churches for structural repair projects. Questionnaire results suggest that Weber's theory is not applicable to the Springfield, Missouri MSA. Possible explanations include the increased mobility of modern society, equal spatial distribution of church locations, and the absence of a strong economic divide between employee and employer in the area studied. Further, ministers in the Springfield MSA are not interested in participating in a program such as the Church Urban Fund.

Subject Categories

Christian Denominations and Sects | Comparative Methodologies and Theories


© Deborah Thompson