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Religion and fertility ideals, intentions and behaviour: a comparative study of European countries

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  • Caroline Berghammer
  • Dimiter Philipov
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    Abstract

    European demographers rarely study religion as a determinant of contemporary demographic behaviour. One reason could be the secularisation observed in European countries, implying that the effect of religiosity has been diminishing. This paper aims to show that religion can have an important impact on ideals, intentions and behaviour related to fertility. First we discuss recent trends in religiosity. We base our ensuing hypotheses on three deliberations why religion may have a bearing on fertility: importance of religious teaching, effect of social capital and function of religion to decrease uncertainty. Using FFS data we examine the influence of several measures of religiosity on the ideal number of children and intentions to have a second and third child, as well as on the expected and actual number of children. We find that all measures of religiosity are in general related to a higher ideal number of children, higher odds to intend another child and higher expected and actual number of children. Participation in religious services turns out to be slightly more salient than affiliation and self-assessed religiosity. We also discover that the effect of religion on ideals is more pronounced than its effect on intentions. Ideals stay further away from behaviour than intentions do and hence the influence of religion is intermediated by other social systems.

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    File URL: http://epub.oeaw.ac.at/0xc1aa500d_0x0017f0e5
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna in its journal Vienna Yearbook of Population Research.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 271-305

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    Handle: RePEc:vid:yearbk:v:5:y:2007:i:1:p:271-305

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    Web page: http://www.oeaw.ac.at/vid/

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    1. Alicia Adsera, 2005. "Vanishing Children: From High Unemployment to Low Fertility in Developed Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 189-193, May.
    2. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    3. Hans-Peter Kohler & Francesco C. Billari & José Antonio Ortega, 2002. "The Emergence of Lowest-Low Fertility in Europe During the 1990s," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 641-680.
    4. Kevin McQuillan, 2004. "When Does Religion Influence Fertility?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(1), pages 25-56.
    5. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Shoshana Neuman, 2007. "Parental religiosity and daughters’ fertility: the case of Catholics in southern Europe," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 305-327, September.
    6. Ross Stolzenberg & Mary Blair-Loy & Linda J. Waite, . "Religious Participation Over the Early Life Course: Age and Family Life Cycle Effects on Church Membership," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 94-14, Chicago - Population Research Center.
    7. Pablo Brañas-Garza & Shoshana Neuman, 2006. "Is fertility related to religiosity?-Evidence from Spain," Papers on Economics of Religion 06/06, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    8. S. Morgan, 1981. "Intention and uncertainty at later stages of childbearing: the united states 1965 and 1970," Demography, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 267-285, August.
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    Cited by:
    1. Anne-Kristin Kuhnt & Heike Trappe, 2013. "Easier said than done: childbearing intentions and their realization in a short term perspective," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2013-018, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Samuel H. Preston & Caroline Sten Hartnett, 2008. "The Future of American Fertility," NBER Working Papers 14498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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