Different religious groups often show affinities with different social sectors. While on the one hand this is not surprising, on the other it challenges the universal ideals contained in the simple injunction to “go unto all the world”.
For Latter-day Saints details of its social profile are trickling in as censuses and surveys increasingly include religious membership, and specifically Mormons, in their reporting and as scholars increasingly ask questions of those data. In Mexico, for example, the 2000 census shows how Mormons differ from other Mexicans at the aggregate level.
We can take the wages received by Mexicans according to religious memberships and divide them into three categories—one minimum wage and below, between one and three minimum wages, and three minimum wages and greater. A minimum wage is not an absolute amount, because it varies according to the economic realities of each area reporting. But as a comparison we can say it is roughly $5.00/ day.
Once separated we notice that almost 50% of Adventists, 40% of Pentecostals, 43% of mainline Protestants and 25% of Jehovah’s Witnesses make only one or less than one minimum wage. In contrast 20% of Catholics and only 13% of Latter-day Saints fall into this category.
Catholics, who are the vast majority of Mexicans have 48% of their membership claiming somewhere between one and three minimum wages. 46% of Latter-day Saints are found in this category as are 50% of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
While 26% of Catholics make three or more minimum wages 36% of Latter-day Saints do. Mormons in Mexico stand out for their relatively high incomes. How should one understand this?