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Family Size and Contraceptive Use among Mormons: 1965-75

Tim B. Heaton and Sandra Calkins
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 25, No. 2 (Dec., 1983), pp. 102-113
DOI: 10.2307/3511488
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3511488
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Family Size and Contraceptive Use among Mormons: 1965-75
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Abstract

Religious fertility differentials have been attributed to particularistic theology, socioeconomic composition or minority status of the groups being compared. Recent convergence in the Catholic-Protestant fertility differential illustrates the usefulness of these three explanations in explaining fertility trends. This research explores the utility of these hypotheses for explaining an apparent divergence in Mormon fertility after 1965. Of the three, the particularistic theology hypothesis seems most applicable to Mormons. Analysis of Mormons in the National Fertility Surveys of 1965, 1970, and 1975 indicate that: (1) Mormons are at least as likely to have ever used birth control as are white Protestants; (2) Mormons are less likely to be current users than either Catholics or Protestants; (3) about 50 percent of Mormons delay use until after the first child and 25 percent delay until after the second child; (4) Mormons, like the U.S. population as a whole adopt modern effective methods of contraception; and (5) when compared with the less devout, more devout Mormons have distinctive patterns of timing contraceptive use. These findings suggest that pro-family rather than anti-birth control beliefs provide the key for understanding the persistence of high Mormon fertility.

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