Religion, Religiosity, and Fertility Desires: Evidence from a Longitudinal Study of American College Graduates

Publication Date: January 1980

Publisher: Institute of Contemporary Jewry; Institute of Contemporary Jewry; Association for Jewish Demography and Statistics

Author(s): Paul Ritterband; Steven M. Cohen

Research Area: Culture and religion; Population and demographics

Keywords: American Jews; Family; Fertility

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


It is well established that among major American religious groups Catholics, have, expect to have, and want to have the largest families. They are followed in turn by Protestants, who in turn exceed Jews. Westoff, Potter and Sagi (1964) report that "religious preference, that is, preference for the Protestant, Catholic or Jewish faith, is the strongest of all major social influences on fertility."

In this paper we shall address two problems. First, we shall attempt to account for differences in desired family size by religion. Second, we shall examine the routes to group mean desired family size.

In Papers in Jewish Demography 1977; Proceedings of the Demographic Sessions held at the 7th World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, August 1977. U.O. Schmelz, P. Glikson and S. Della Pergola, eds. p. 115-141.