, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 199–214

Religion and fertility in the United States: New patterns


  • William D. Mosher
    • National Center for Health Statistics
  • Linda B. Williams
    • Population Studies CenterUniversity of Michigan
  • David P. Johnson
    • National Center for Health Statistics
U.S. Fertility

DOI: 10.2307/2061727

Cite this article as:
Mosher, W.D., Williams, L.B. & Johnson, D.P. Demography (1992) 29: 199. doi:10.2307/2061727


In the United States, the baby boom-era pattern of high Catholic and low Protestant fertility has ended. Among non-Hispanic whites in the 1980s, Catholic total fertility rates (TFRs) were about one-quarter of a child lower than Protestant rates (1.64 vs. 1.91). Most of the Protestant-Catholic difference is related to later and less frequent marriage among Catholics. Future research on the demography of religious groups should focus on explaining the delayed marriage pattern of Catholics, the high fertility of Mormons and frequently attending Protestants, and the very low fertility of those with no religious affiliation.

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© Population Association of America 1992