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Religion and Fertility: The Case of Mormonism

Arland Thornton
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 41, No. 1 (Feb., 1979), pp. 131-142
DOI: 10.2307/351738
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351738
Page Count: 12
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Religion and Fertility: The Case of Mormonism
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Abstract

The influence of religion on childbearing has been of great interest to students of the family and population. The large families of Catholics, Moslems, Fundamentalist Protestants, and Hutterites have been observed. The purpose of this paper is to focus attention on another religious group, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, more commonly known as Mormons. Data are presented to establish that in the United States and Canada adherents of Mormonism historically have had and continue to have higher than average rates of childbearing. Second, data are discussed which suggest that the high fertility of Mormons is not the result of their occupying positions in the social structure in which childbearing is high. That is, the data are consistent with the hypothesis that there is something about Mormonism which influences childbearing, and this effect cannot be accounted for by social and economic characteristics.

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