Which are America’s wealthiest religions?  This graphic points towards Hindu and Jewish people of faith as the wealthiest in the U.S.  In contrast, historically black churches of the Christian tradition as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses have more people in the <$30,000 income bracket than the others.

Good Magazine has an ongoing project on Transparency, of which this is a part.  They call it “a graphical exploration of the data that surrounds us.”  As part of the project, they’ve created this graphic to compare income levels among some of the many religious groups in the U.S. as compared to the U.S average income distribution.

Using data from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Good produced this image together with Column Five Magazine. Here is a close up to give you a sense of the distribution as compared to national average income.

This data visualization has ignited some controversy through comments on the Good site, including outrage over groups that were left out, upset over the presence of more detailed data on Christianity (acknowledging the diversity within that tradition) but not honoring the diversity of other traditions–for example, by breaking down Jewish data into Orthodox vs. Reformed Jews.

Is data like this, provided without commentary, truly useful? I like the spirit of the Transparency project, but when the data doesn’t have any framing interpretation (other than that present by the structures and biases provided in the graphic) it is less illuminating than it could be.  However, maybe the very spirit of having data made visible so that it comes off the page is the whole point.

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