Journal Article

Churches and the Urban Poor: Interaction and Social Distance

R. Drew Smith

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 62, issue 3, pages 301-313
Published in print January 2001 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2001 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
Churches and the Urban Poor: Interaction and Social Distance

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Although the social isolation of the urban poor has been well documented, the analysis has only alluded to, and rarely detailed, the isolation of the urban poor from churches and other religious institutions. This article outlines findings from survey research conducted in three low-income housing complexes in Indianapolis, focusing on the extent to which the housing complex residents had been contacted by churches, had attended churches, and had become members of churches. The survey data confirms both a scarcity of direct church-initiated contact with low-income neighbors; and a significantly smaller percentage of church attendance and membership among the housing complex sample than among Americans in general. A number of socio-cultural factors are proposed as explanation for low levels of interaction between churches and low-income populations, including cultural predispositions by churches and the urban poor toward one another.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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