Age-specific fertility patterns by religion around the world

Vegard Skirbekk, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Michaela Potancokova, Wittgenstein Centre (IIASA, VID/ÖAW, WU)
Conrad Hackett, Pew Research Center
Marcin Stonawski, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and Cracow University of Economics

The current study presents new data on age-specific fertility by religion from a new global database we have built up on religion and fertility for 137 countries. We find significant differences in childbearing between Christians, Muslims, and the Religiously Unaffiliated. There are differences in terms of the timing of fertility of each group and also in terms of fertility outcomes. There are different patterns of variation between these groups in various regions of the world. We identify unique patterns of age-specific fertility, showing different patterns in different geographic areas of the world. Patterns that emerge at the global level do not hold true in all regions of the world. The differential patterns of childbearing are important for several reasons. They are an important component of regional population trends, they affect future religious compositions as well as regional and fertility levels. The religion-specific age-trajectories of fertility also affect global population growth.

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Presented in Session 25: Prospects of fertility determinants worldwide