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Explaining Fertility Differences among U.S. Protestants

John P. Marcum
Social Forces
Vol. 60, No. 2, Special Issue (Dec., 1981), pp. 532-543
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2578449
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2578449
Page Count: 12
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Explaining Fertility Differences among U.S. Protestants
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Abstract

The hypothesis that Protestant fertility patterns result from differences in social characteristics among denominations is set against the hypothesis that doctrinal differences lead members of conservative denominations to have both higher wanted and unwanted fertility. Data for white couples from the 1965 National Fertility Survey support the doctrine hypothesis for wanted fertility among conservative Protestants low in formal participation. It is suggested that couples who follow conservative doctrine and have larger families participate less frequently because of conflicting demands associated with larger families. Further analysis with a measure of participation less sensitive to differences in family size produces results consistent with this argument.

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