Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 449–465 | Cite as

Does Religion Influence Fertility in Developing Countries

Article

Abstract

This paper examines religious group differences in fertility in developing nations. Using data from the Demographic and Health Surveys of 30 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, this paper documents Muslim/Christian and Catholic/Protestant differences in the number of children under age 5. The paper also considers possible explanations for these differences including level of development, religious mix, social characteristics and proximate determinants of fertility. Muslim fertility is substantially higher than Christian fertility in many countries, but the average difference between Catholics and Protestants is small. Cross-national variation in group differences is at least as large as the average difference. Although level of development, social characteristics and proximate determinants play an important role in religious differences, they do not explain cross-national variation in these differences.

Keywords

Fertility Religion Developing countries 

References

  1. Addai, I. (1999). Does religion matter in contraceptive use among Ghanaian women? Review of Religious Research, 40, 259–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adsera, A. (2006). Religion and changes in family-size norms in developed countries. Review of Religious Research, 47, 271–286.Google Scholar
  3. Agadjanian, V. (2001). Religion, social milieu, and the contraceptive revolution. Population Studies, 55, 135–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Akafuah, R. A., & Marie-Antoinette, S. (2008). Attitudes toward and use of knowledge about family planning among Ghanaian men. International Journal of Men’s Health, 7, 109–121.Google Scholar
  5. Bongaarts, J. (1982). The fertility-inhibiting effects of the intermediate fertility variables. Studies in Family Planning, 13, 179–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Caldwell, J. C. (1980). Mass education as a determinant of the timing of fertility decline. Population and Development Review, 6, 225–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chamie, J. (1981). Religion and fertility: Arab christian-muslim differentials. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Davis, K., & Blake, J. (1955). Social structure and fertility: An analytic framework. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 4, 211–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dharmalingam, A., & Philip Morgan, S. (2004). Pervasive Muslim-Hindu fertility differences in India. Demography, 41, 529–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Faust, K., Bach, R., Gadalla, S., Khattab, H., & Gulick, J. (1991). Mass education, Islamic revival, and the population problem in Egypt. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 22, 329–341.Google Scholar
  11. Frejka, T., & Charles, F. W. (2006). Religion, religiousness and fertility in the U.S. and in Europe. Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research Working Paper WP 2006-013.Google Scholar
  12. Gaur, D. R., Goel, M. K., & Goel, M. (2008). Contraceptive practices and related factors among females in predominantly rural Muslim area of North India. Internet Journal of World Health & Societal Politics, 5, 3.Google Scholar
  13. Goldscheider, C. (1971). Population modernization and social structure. Boston: Little-Brown.Google Scholar
  14. Heaton, T. B. (1989). Religious influences on Mormon fertility. Review of Religious Research, 30, 401–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Heaton, T. B., James, S., & Oheneba-Sakyi, Y. (2009). Religion and socioeconomic attainment in Ghana. Review of Religious Research, 51, 71–86.Google Scholar
  16. Hogan, D. P., & Biratu, B. (2004). Social identity and community effects on contraceptive use and intentions in Southern Ethiopia. Studies in Family Planning, 35, 79–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hull, T. H. (2005). People, population and policy in Indonesia. Jakarta and Singapore: Equinox Publishing.Google Scholar
  18. Iyer, S. (2002). Religion and the decision to use contraception in India. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 41, 711–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jones, G. W. (2006). A demographic perspective on the Muslim World. Journal of Population Research, 23, 243–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Knodel, J., Fray, R. S., Sricatcharin, P., & Peracca, S. (1999). Religion and reproduction: Muslims in Buddhist Thailand. Population Studies, 53, 149–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lehrer, E. L. (2004). Religion as a determinant of economic and demographic behavior in the United States. Population and Development Review, 30, 707–726.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McQuillan, K. (2004). When does religion influence fertility? Population and Development Review, 30, 25–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Morgan, S. P., Stash, S., Mason, K. O., & Smith, H. L. (2002). Muslim and non-Muslim differences in female autonomy and fertility: Evidence from four Asian countries. Population and Development Review, 28, 515–538.Google Scholar
  24. Mosher, W. D., & Hendershot, G. E. (1984). Religion and fertility: A replication. Demography, 21, 185–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Stark, R., & Iannaccone, L. R. (1994). A supply-side reinterpretation of the ‘Secularization’ of Europe. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 33, 76–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Weeks, J. R. (1988). The demography of Islamic Nations. Population Bulletin. No. 43. Washington DC: Population Reference Bureau.Google Scholar
  27. Westoff, C. F., & Jones, E. F. (1979). The end of Catholic fertility. Demography, 16, 209–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Zhang, L. (2008). Religious affiliation, religiosity, and male and female fertility. Demographic Research, 18, 234–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

Personalised recommendations