Religion and Fertility in the UK: Trends and Outlook

Sylvie Dubuc, University of Oxford

Family planning involves a number of personal, cultural and possibly religious preferences that impact on fertility rates. Information is scarce and little data are available on fertility rates by religious groups, partly because few data is available. Here we report recent trends in total period fertility rates (TFRs) of mothers in the UK belonging to the major religious groups and those with no religion. TFRs are estimated based on the cross sectional Labour Force Survey in the UK, applying reverse survival techniques to obtain robust estimates over the period 1988-2006. Despite a decreasing trend, Muslim fertility remains relatively very high compared to the other groups. Results show much higher TFRs to non-believers compared to other findings in Europe. Cross-analysis of fertility by religious belonging and ethnicity support a non-trivial relationship between geographical ancestry and religion. Future fertility trends and assumptions to project populations by religious groups, including religious transmission, are discussed.

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Presented in Session 69: Religion, Sexuality and Fertility