Religion in US ‘worth more than Google and Apple combined’

Sep 16, 2016

By Harriet Sherwood

Religion in the United States is worth $1.2tn a year, making it equivalent to the 15th largest national economy in the world, according to a study.

The faith economy has a higher value than the combined revenues of the top 10 technology companies in the US, including Apple, Amazon and Google, says the analysis from Georgetown University in Washington DC.

The Socioeconomic Contributions of Religion to American Society: An Empirical Analysis calculated the $1.2tn figure by estimating the value of religious institutions, including healthcare facilities, schools, daycare and charities; media; businesses with faith backgrounds; the kosher and halal food markets; social and philanthropic programmes; and staff and overheads for congregations.

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12 comments on “Religion in US ‘worth more than Google and Apple combined’

  • 1
    flyingfsck says:

    The value of religion is a false precept, similar to the ‘broken window falacy’ of Frederic Bastiat. Money spent on religion is wasted and could be better spent on other purposes.

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  • The correct title would be ‘spending of religion’ not ‘worth’. The latter would require a measure of income and outflow. Given that religion produces nothing new it cannot have a profit or create wealth, and thus cannot be worth more than actual companies that do.

    It’s also quite ludicrous to suggest religion spends 3x the total estimated amount of money given to charity per year.
    Which topped out at just under $400B in 2015, covering all charities including the religious ones.

    Otherwise this story claims that religion runs at a 300% profit, or more, which is also a ludicrous suggestion, and probably not one that belongs on this website.

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  • shows that two-thirds of highly religious adults had donated money, time or goods to the poor in the previous week, compared with 41% of adults who said they were not highly religious.

    This is a number that can not stand!

    When Julian the Philosopher was trying to counteract the influences of christianity in the Roman Empire he noted that the christians emphasized giving to the poor while you could not get a cup of water at a temple to the god Poseidon. He wanted this changed as he had come to the conclusion that it was a very effective recruitment tactic. Then as now those that give “freely” of themselves and their property will be those that get the attention for their cause, religious delusion, or for their non-cause, atheism. Atheism does not demand tithes at least!

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  • The PDF is linked @ OP.

    Press release (55 minutes) >

    Relevant to this website for (at least) something mentioned at the end (paraphrased): Trying to determine if religion would help health / mental health, and, could influence policy making (faith-based initiatives).

    Biased, no-room-for-counter-points report, argh.

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  • ANTIcarrot #3
    Sep 18, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Otherwise this story claims that religion runs at a 300% profit, or more, which is also a ludicrous suggestion, and probably not one that belongs on this website.

    The production of replicated God delusions, has zero material input costs to the preacher, and probably a negative value to those acquiring them, so the percentage sales mark-up producing revenue for the churches, (especially those collecting tithes), must indeed be considerable!

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  • No refunds, no product recalls, no quality assurance, no raw material or component costs. Well, some wafers, wine, incense for the RCC. Religion is indeed a highly profitable proposition. Only cost is for labour and premises, and the TV marketing. And no taxes to pay. I’d be surprised if 300% isn’t an underestimate. Does it actually cost 1/3 of revenue to cover payroll? Mostly the premises are owned outright, and pay nothing in taxes.

    L Ron Hubbard was absolutely right.

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  • Just before the Reformation, I reckon the Church reached it’s maximum state of direct honest-to-god profiteering: selling indulgences. Maybe one step too far, inspiring the customer revolt led by Martin Luther.

    Imagine, though, what modern marketing could have done with it: 20% off Purgatory, today only. Buy one get one free: bring your most beloved to Heaven with you. Family packages? Bulk discounts available….

    Ah, but we don’t need to imagine: there are Televangelists. To become “Saved” is a catch-all blanket Indulgence, after all.

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  • Johnny Oldtimer #9
    Sep 19, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Atheism as a religious belief will never sell

    But atheism is NOT a religious belief!
    It is an absence of religious belief, so has no need of sales of a non-product!
    Its like driving a car with an absence of punctures, or an absence advertising stickers!

    – no fringe benefits.

    and no “fringe benefits of religious handicaps or confused religious thinking!

    Why follow a bunch of losers ?

    That’s why people dump religious beliefs and free their minds of muddled preconceptions!

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