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Religious Affiliation and Fertility in a Sub-Saharan Context: Dynamic and Lifetime Perspectives


  • Victor Agadjanian


  • Scott Yabiku



We use uniquely detailed data from a predominantly Christian high-fertility area in Mozambique to examine denominational differentials in fertility from two complementary perspectives—dynamic and cumulative. First, we use event-history analysis to predict yearly risks of birth from denominational affiliation. Then, we employ Poisson regression to model the association between the number of children ever born and share of reproductive life spent in particular denominations or outside organized religion. Both approaches detect a significant increase in fertility associated with membership in a particular type of African-initiated churches which is characterized by strong organizational identity, rigid hierarchy, and insular corporate culture. Membership in the Catholic Church is also associated with elevated completed fertility. We relate these results to extant theoretical perspectives on the relationship between religion and fertility by stressing the interplay between ideological, social, and organizational characteristics of different types of churches and situate our findings within the context of fertility transition and religious demographics in Mozambique and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Victor Agadjanian & Scott Yabiku, 2014. "Religious Affiliation and Fertility in a Sub-Saharan Context: Dynamic and Lifetime Perspectives," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 33(5), pages 673-691, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:poprpr:v:33:y:2014:i:5:p:673-691
    DOI: 10.1007/s11113-013-9317-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. S. Philip Morgan & Sharon Stash & Herbert L. Smith & Karen Oppenheim Mason, 2002. "Muslim and Non‐Muslim Differences in Female Autonomy and Fertility: Evidence from Four Asian Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(3), pages 515-537, September.
    2. Kevin McQuillan, 2004. "When Does Religion Influence Fertility?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(1), pages 25-56, March.
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    7. Sara Yeatman & Jenny Trinitapoli, 2008. "Beyond denomination: The relationship between religion and family planning in rural Malawi," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 19(55), pages 1851-1882.
    8. Victor Agadjanian & Scott Yabiku & Boaventura Cau, 2011. "Men’s Migration and Women’s Fertility in Rural Mozambique," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(3), pages 1029-1048, August.
    9. Li Zhang, 2008. "Religious affiliation, religiosity, and male and female fertility," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 18(8), pages 233-262.
    10. Herold, J.M. & Westoff, C.F. & Warren, C.W. & Seltzer, J., 1989. "Catholicism and fertility in Puerto Rico," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 79(9), pages 1258-1262.
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