Minority faith and environmental justice

Sumaia A. Al-Kohlani, Heather E. Campbell, Stephen Omar El-Khatib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Decades of research indicate that most Census-measured U.S. racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately impacted by environmental disamenities, all else equal; the study of this is referred to as Environmental Justice (EJ) research. Yet both U.S. and world history show that another minoritized group is religious minorities. If so, this has health consequences and policy implications. Houses of worship (HOWs) are visible and physical symbols of religion. We use tax records to locate Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist or Hindu HOWs within census tracts for the entire contiguous United States. We combine these data with EJSCREEN data to analyze whether air pollution risks are greater in their presence. We find that, even holding constant race, ethnicity, and poverty, two non-census-measured religious minorities' HOWs are disproportionately impacted by air pollution in the United States: Jews and Muslims. This new knowledge has consequences for EJ policy and social justice-motivated environmental research. Related Articles: Ash, John. 2010. “New Nuclear Energy, Risk, and Justice: Regulatory Strategies for an Era of Limited Trust.” Politics & Policy 38(2): 255–84. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1747-1346.2010.00237.x. Fowler, Luke. 2022. “Searching for Green Elephants and Other Mythical Creatures during the Trump Years: Partisanship and Congressional Voting on Environmental Legislation.” Politics & Policy 50(5): 913–41. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12499. Tubadji, Annie. 2023. “You'll Never Walk Alone: Loneliness, Religion, and Politico-economic Transformation.” Politics & Policy 51(4): 661–95. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12538.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1096
Number of pages28
JournalPolitics and Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • COVID-19
  • United States
  • air pollution
  • environmental disamenities
  • environmental justice
  • environmental policy
  • health policy
  • houses of worship
  • minority faith
  • racial and ethnic minorities
  • religion
  • religious discrimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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