Acton Institute Powerblog

Washington, DC has more economists than clergy

Do you ever stumble upon a fact that seems like it must have some significance but you just can’t figure out what it might mean? That’s how I feel seeing the ratio of economists to clergy in major metro areas.

Paul Winfree of N58 Policy Research looked at data compiled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to calculate that ratio. He found that Washington, DC has “10 economists for every one member of the clergy, whereas in New York City there are 15 members of the clergy for every economist.”

The New York-Newark-Jersey City region seems to be an outlier since the national average is 2.5 clergy for every economist. Detroit also has a nearly 10:1 ratio and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida has 6.4 clergy for every economist.

Surprisingly, at 1.7 to 1, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas area—in the heart of the “Bible Belt”—has nearly the same ratio as Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington (1.7) and San Francisco-Oakland Hayward, California (1.9).

As you might expect, the DC area also has a lopsided ratio between attorneys and preachers: 54.1 lawyers for every clergy. Living in a country that prizes barristers over pastors (the national average is 12.6 lawyers for every member of the clergy) we probably shouldn’t be surprised that government and the legal system is becoming our dominant religion.

Joe Carter

Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).