Using data from the NBER survey of Inner City youth and the National longitudinal survey of young men this paper examines the effect of church-going and other aspects of the background of youth their allocation of time, socially deviant behavior, and labor force behavior. 1)Church-going is associated with substantial differences in the behavior of youths, and thus in their chances to 'escape' from innercity poverty. It affects allocation of time, school-going, work activity, and the frequency of socially deviant activity.2)The diverse background factors examined in this study have different effects on various outcomes. Their differential effects suggest true causal impacts, with for example, the proportion of a youth's family working having positive effects on his labor market activity but not on other activities. 3) In addition to church going, the background factors that most influence'who escapes' are whether other members of the family work and whether the family is on welfare.4)The allocation of time and activities by youth is significantly influenced by market opportunities (or perceptions thereof). Those youths who believe it is easy to find a job are more likely to engage in socially productive activities than others. Youths who see many opportunities to make money illegally are less likely to engage in socially productive activities than other youths.