Nums: Which professions contribute the most (and least) to society?

According to a recent Pew poll, folks perceive that …

Military and teachers contribute the most to society … with doctors, scientists & engineers in the hunt.

Lawyers and business execs contribute the least … with less than 1 in 5 people perceiving that lawyers contribute to society’s well-being.



Here are some of the details that caught my eye …


All professions surveyed –- except business executives —  declined in perceived social contribution from 2009 to 2013.

Hypothesis: Business execs get some credit for the improvement in the economy from 2009 lows.




Note that journalists dropped the most … down 10 points from 2009 … and now challenging business execs for one of the two bottom slots.


Only 37% think that clergy contribute to society’s well-being.

Pew headlines the finding as “Church-goers more positive on clergy”.

Not surprisingly, that’s true … but it’s not the story.


Only about half of church-goers think clergy contribute to social well-being.

The number is 2 out of 3 for most groups … dragged down by low scores from Hispanic Catholics … often reported to be among the most religious.

My question: in the 2 out of 3 groups, why are the other 1 in 3 going to go to church if they don’t think the clergy are contribution to social value?

My hypothesis: they fear hell if they don’t show up on Sunday … nothing like a little Catholic guilt.



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