European Journal of Population

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 475–507 | Cite as

Religiosity and Fertility: Jews in Israel



We analyze the relationship between religiosity and fertility among Jews in Israel—a modern democracy in which there is no separation of religion and state. Micro-level data from the 2009 Israel Social Survey are used to perform multivariate analyses of the odds of having at least three children. The findings from separate analyses of women and men are consistent with a theoretical framework, outlined by McQuillan and C. Goldscheider, which suggests how religiosity affects fertility. In particular, measures of the importance of religious community explain in part the higher levels of fertility among some religiosity groups; attitudes toward religion as a social and political institution as well as norms regarding family building over the life course also partly account for the influence of religiosity on fertility. While women’s employment activity is significantly related to their fertility, as many economic theories predict, controlling for paid work in regression models does not affect the estimated relationship between religiosity and women’s fertility. We conclude that, in the current context, fertility variation across religiosity groups can be understood largely in terms of the cultural, political, and institutional power of religion, and the impact of religion through community, and via norms and ideals.


Religiosity Religion Fertility Israel Jews Gender roles Community Family Institutions Nationalism Familism Parity Ideal family size Civil marriage Secular Traditional Ultra-Orthodox 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 210 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Demographic StudiesThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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