Religion and Educational Achievement

Religiosity does not necessarily hinder educational achievement. Benjamin Schulz and Sarah Carol are the first to research the role of religiosity and membership in a religious community with German NEPS data.

Children from an immigrant background remain disadvantaged in the German educational system. Many studies ascribe this to the educational background of the parents and the socio-economical position of the family. Benjamin Schulz, scientific researcher at the WZB and Sarah Carol (Cologne University) have now researched what role religiosity and membership in a religious community plays in Germany using data from the National Education Panel (NEPS). The findings point to a complex situation, as a press release by Cologne University shows. The relationship is most clearly visible between the religiosity of young Muslims and their performance in math tests. However, there is no correlation between the religiosity and educational achievements of Christian children. The general consensus is that religiosity does not stand in the way of educational achievement. For Christian immigrants, parental engagement in religious communities even pays off in better educational achievement—but only if the parish is in an area with a low share of co-ethnics. Here, parents can make helpful contacts to German middle class families. The differentiated results underline the importance of distinguishing between different forms of religiosity.

Sarah Carol and Benjamin Schulz: “Religiosity as a Bridge or Barrier to Immigrant Children’s Educational Achievement?” In: Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 2018, vol. 55, pp. 75–88.