Why Is Congregational Participation Associated with Higher Fertility?

Conrad Hackett, University of Texas at Austin

Women who actively participate in congregations have high fertility, but there is no consensus about the causal mechanisms involved. Using data from the 2001 Congregational Life Survey, I demonstrate that congregational group participation and dense congregational friendship networks are more influential predictors of congregant fertility than Biblical literalism, worship frequency, or prayer frequency. Congregational social networks function as fertility reference groups, which encourage childbearing.

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Presented in Session 69: Religion, Sexuality and Fertility