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Religious Affiliation and the Fertility of Married Couples

William D. Mosher and Gerry E. Hendershot
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 46, No. 3 (Aug., 1984), pp. 671-677
DOI: 10.2307/352608
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352608
Page Count: 7
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Religious Affiliation and the Fertility of Married Couples
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Abstract

Using the 1973 and 1976 National Surveys of Family Growth—nationally representative samples totalling 14,000 married women—we present a wide range of national estimates of the fertility of married couples in religious groups in the United States. These are the most recent, the most inclusive, or the only national estimates of these parameters. It was found that (a) the white-Protestant/white-Catholic difference in family size persisted even after controlling for age, education, and residence; (b) the fertility of Catholic couples is negatively related to the wife's education, a reversal of a positive association in the 1950s and 1960s; (c) the fertility of Jewish couples was lower than that of Protestant and Catholic couples, both before and after multivariate adjustment; (d) the fertility of black Catholic couples was much lower than that of black Protestant couples; but the difference disappeared after controlling for age, education, and residence; (e) the fertility of white and black wives with no religious affiliation was much lower than for Protestants both before and after multivariate adjustment. We conclude that religious affiliation continues to be an indispensable datum for understanding fertility differences in the United States.

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