Extending environmental justice research to religious minorities

Sumaia A. Al-Kohlani, Heather E. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


For more than 30 years, significant research in the United States has found that racial and ethnic minorities suffer disproportionately from nearness to environmental disamenities compared with white non-Hispanics and that these results persist even controlling for poverty and “which came first,” the minorities or the disamenities. The engrained discriminatory findings of this environmental justice (EJ) research have led some to argue that we observe “systemic racism,” built into our social systems in ways that may be difficult to perceive. Yet, within the history of the United States, racial and ethnic minorities are not the only groups that have been systematically discriminated against; various religious groups also have histories of discrimination. Here we consider whether, holding constant race and ethnicity, some religious groups may also suffer from “EJ syndrome.” Since the US Census does not collect data on religion, to measure the presence of some religious groups that may be discriminated against, we use an original dataset on the presence of Jewish, Muslim, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, aka Mormon), and Roman Catholic houses of worship within California's Census tracts. Our results indicate that even controlling for race/ethnicity and income, the presence of Jewish or Muslim houses of worship in a California Census tract increases the likelihood of environmental burden as measured by the CalEnviroScreen 3.0 index of pollution and community vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-112
Number of pages23
JournalReview of Policy Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • justicia ambiental
  • minorías religiosas
  • racismo sistémico
  • 宗教少数派
  • 环境正义
  • 系统性种族主义

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Extending environmental justice research to religious minorities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this