Review of Religious Research

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 189–218 | Cite as

Religious Schools, Home Schools, and the Timing of First Marriage and First Birth

Original Paper


The timing of individuals’ family formation is important for a number of socioeconomic and health outcomes. We examine the influence of religious schools and home schools on the timing of first marriage and first birth using data from the Cardus Education Study Graduate Survey (N = 1,496). Our results from life tables and event-history regression models show that, on average, graduates of evangelical Protestant schools—but not Catholic school or homeschool graduates—have earlier marriages and births than public school graduates. Catholic school students have later first births on average than public school graduates. Models interacting schooling type with age and age-squared suggest that evangelical schoolers’ higher odds of marriage stem from higher odds of marrying at ages 21–30, and their higher odds of first birth stem from higher odds of births from ages 25–34. Catholic school and nonreligious private school students also have higher odds of marrying in the mid-20s and early-30s than do public school students. Evangelical, non-religious private, and Catholic school students all have lower odds of teenage births than public school students but higher odds of birth later in the life course. Homeschoolers do not differ on either outcome at any age. Our findings suggest that schools socialize their students with distinctive attitudes toward family formation that influence their behavior even many years after graduation, though these schools do not appear to be particularly harmful to life chances in terms of fostering marriage or childbearing at very young ages.


Religious schools Home schools Family formation Marriage timing Fertility timing Religious socialization 



The authors would like to thank David Sikkink and Cardus for data access. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2012 meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.


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Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyBaylor UniversityWacoUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyCalvin CollegeGrand RapidsUSA

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