Gendering (Non)Religion: Politics, Education, and Gender Gaps in Secularity in the United States

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Gender gaps in religiosity among Western populations, such that women are more religious than men, are well documented. Previous explanations for these differences range from biological predispositions of risk aversion to patriarchal gender socialization, but all largely overlook the intersection of social statuses. Drawing on theories of intersectionality, we contribute to the cultural and empirical analysis of gender gaps in religiosity by documenting an interactive effect between gender, education, and political views for predicting religious nonaffiliation and infrequent attendance at religious services among Americans. For highly educated political liberals, gender gaps effectively disappear, such that men and women are almost equally likely to be secular (or religious). The results have implications for the long-standing disputes about the gendered “nature” of religiosity and highlight the importance of multiple intersecting statuses and modalities in shaping aggregate patterns of religiosity and secularity.