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When Does Religion Influence Fertility?

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  • Kevin McQuillan

Abstract

Religious affiliation as a determinant of demographic behavior is receiving renewed attention in demography. Interest in the role of cultural factors in affecting fertility and a specific concern with the role of Islam in many developing countries have helped re‐invigorate research on the role of religion. This article reviews theoretical and empirical work on that relationship, with special attention to a number of cases in which religion has been identified as an important determinant of fertility patterns. The article concludes that religion plays an influential role when three conditions are satisfied: first, the religion articulates behavioral norms with a bearing on fertility behavior; second, the religion holds the means to communicate these values and promote compliance; and, third, religion forms a central component of the social identity of its followers.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin McQuillan, 2004. "When Does Religion Influence Fertility?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(1), pages 25-56, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:30:y:2004:i:1:p:25-56
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1728-4457.2004.00002.x
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    1. Jejeebhoy, Shireen J., 1995. "Women's Education, Autonomy, and Reproductive Behaviour: Experience from Developing Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290339.
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