Catholic and non-Catholic fertility during the post-World War II period are compared in this paper. Evidence accumulated across five sample surveys of fertility in the United States, which were conducted at five-year intervals from 1955 through 1975, forms the basis for the analysis; both cohort and period measures are employed. Starting from a situation where Catholic fertility was very little higher than that of non-Catholics, it is shown that the differential increased markedly during the baby boom and then declined to a point where the two trends nearly come together in the mid1970s. Interpretation of the recent convergence in the light of various theories that have been put forward to explain the differential suggests that it will be an enduring phenomenon.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Barnett, L. D. 1965. Differentials in Fertility Planning and Fertility in the United States. Family Life Coordinator 14:161–170.
Blake, J. 1966. The Americanization of Catholic Reproductive Ideals. Population Studies XX:27–45.
Bouvier, L. F. 1973. The Fertility of Rhode Island Catholics: 1968–1969. Sociological Analysis 34:124–139.
—, and S. Rao. 1975. Socioreligious Factors in Fertility Decline. Cambridge: Ballinger.
Burch, T. K. 1966. The Fertility of North American Catholics: A Comparative Overview. Demography 3:174–187.
Day, L. H. 1968. Natality and Ethnocentrism: Some Relationships Suggested by an Analysis of Catholic-Protestant Differentials. Population Studies 22:27–50.
Freedman, Ronald, P. K. Whelpton, and Arthur A. Campbell. 1959. Family Planning, Sterility and Population Growth. New York: McGraw-Hill.
—, P. K. Whelpton, and J. W. Smit. 1961. Socio-Economic Factors in Religious Differentials in Fertility. American Sociological Review 26:608–614.
Goldberg, David. 1967. Fertility and Fertility Differentials: Some Observations on Recent Changes in the United States. Mindel Sheps and Jeanne Ridley (eds.), Public Health and Population Change. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Goldscheider, C., and P. R. Uhlenberg. 1969. Minority Group Status and Fertility. American Journal of Sociology 76:361–372.
Greeley, Andrew M., William C. McCready, and Kathleen McCourt. 1976. Catholic Schools in a Declining Church. Kansas City: Sheed and Ward.
Jaffe, A. J. 1939. Religious Differentials in the Net Reproductive Rate. Journal of the American Statistical Association 34:335–342.
Kirk, Dudley. 1955. Recent Trends of Catholic Fertility in the United States. Current Research in Human Fertility. Milbank Memorial Fund: 93–105.
Lenski, G. 1971. The Religious Factor in Detroit: Revisited. American Sociological Review 36:50–52.
Long, L. H. 1970. Fertility Patterns Among Religious Groups in Canada. Demography 7:135–149.
Robinson, G. K. 1936. The Catholic Birth Rate: Further Facts and Implications. American Journal of Sociology 31:757–766.
Ryder, Norman B. 1978. Components of Temporal Variations in American Fertility. (Unpublished).
—, and Charles F. Westoff. 1971. Reproduction in the United States: 1965. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Stouffer, S. A. 1935. Trends in the Fertility of Catholies and Non-Catholics. American Journal of Sociology XLI: 143–166.
Westoff, Charles F., et al. 1961. Family Growth in Metropolitan America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
—, and L. L. Bumpass. 1973. The Revolution in Birth Control Practices of U. S. Roman Catholics. Science 179:41–44.
—, and E. F. Jones. 1977. The Secularization of U. S. Catholic Birth Control Practices. Family Planning Perspectives 9:203–207.
—, and Norman B. Ryder. 1977. The Contraceptive Revolution. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Whelpton, P. K., A. A. Campbell, and J. E. Patterson. 1966. Fertility and Family Planning in the United States. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Zimmer, B. G., and C. Goldscheider. 1966. A Further Look at Catholic Fertility. Demography 3:462–469.
About this article
Cite this article
Westoff, C.F., Jones, E.F. The end of “Catholic” fertility. Demography 16, 209–217 (1979). https://doi.org/10.2307/2061139
- Baby Boom
- Marriage Cohort
- Cumulative Fertility
- Marriage Duration
- Cohort Fertility