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Investigating Family Size Differentials by Religiosity Across Europe: National Contexts, Expectations and Outcomes

In: Journal of Religion and Demography
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In most European countries more religious people have more children than the secular and are less likely to remain childless. However, in some ex-communist states this association is subdued or even inverted. This study investigates not only fertility and partnering outcomes, but also differences in the level of desire for a child. Four contrasting countries are compared: Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Georgia. We found the more religious had higher expectations that a child would bring joy into their life than the non-religious. The religious ‘nones’ tend to be very worried about the financial impact of a(nother) child and negative effect on their sex life; these concerns are much less prevalent among active Christians. In Georgia, where highly educated young people are more religious than the old, differentials by religiosity are small. History and context cause the impact of personal religiosity on fertility behavior and attitudes to be potentially divergent.

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