Recent theoretical arguments contend that when the state permits a religious free market, pluralism and competition will emerge and overall levels of religious participation will increase. We return to nineteenth-century America, when the emergence of a religious free market was in progress, to examine whether pluralism generated higher levels of religious participation. We use data from the New York State censuses of 1855 and 1865 to explore religious participation in 942 towns and cities in the state. Our results strongly support the pluralism thesis, highlight demographic effects on religious participation, and help explain conflicting research findings on pluralism and religious participation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science