More than one-third of Latinos interviewed in a recent study believe science education may have a negative impact on the religious faith of their children, according to new research from sociologists at Rice University.

The study examined the relationship between STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and religious faith from the perspective of blacks and Latinos, two groups that are among the most religious in the U.S. Study authors Daniel Bolger, a Rice Ph.D. student, and Elaine Howard Ecklund, founding director of the Religion and Public Life Program and the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, conducted the study to investigate what impact parents think science education will have on their children's faith.

"Despite notable gains over the past 50 years, blacks and Latinos remain less likely than whites and most groups of Asians to pursue STEM careers," Bolger said.

"However, previous research also suggests that churches help promote positive educational outcomes.

We were very interested in examining the connection between science education and faith for individuals who attend black and Latino churches to see if we could understand more about why these disparities in pursuit of STEM careers persist."

Key findings from the study include:

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