The impact of the religiosity on demographic behaviors in Turkey

Ismet Koc, Hacettepe University
Isil Bayraktar, Hacettepe University

All of the religious doctrines shape attitudes of people towards a number of issues concerning family life and reproduction, such as age at first marriage, partner choice, family formation, family size, fertility level and divorce. This paper investigates whether current differences in religiosity are also manifested in demographic behaviors in Islamic settings, in Turkey. The data comes from Turkey Family Structure Survey conducted in 2011 (TAYA-2011) by Ministry of Family and Social Policies. In the selection of TAYA-2011 sample, a weighted, multi-stage, stratified cluster approach was used. The sample design of the survey makes it possible to perform analysis for Turkey as a whole for urban and rural areas and for the 12 demographic regions. TAYA-2011 includes very rich information on degree of religiosity, age at first marriage, ideal age at marriage, family formation process, number of children, ideal number of children, age at divorce, marital status, and opinions on divorce and out of wedlock. We use Poisson regression analysis to distinguish the impact of the religiosity on demographic behaviors under the control of structural factors such as sex, education, working status, age, region, type of settlement of the respondents. The preliminary findings of the study show that religiosity serves, under the control of structural factors, as a strong, and in some cases the most important predictor of demographic behaviors. We observe that as the Muslim faith increases, age at first marriage and the probability of divorce decrease, and the number of children increases significantly in Turkey. These findings provide an invitation for further promising research, investigating the interaction between religiosity and demographic behavior over time from the life-course perspective.

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Presented in Session 26: Assortative mating and religiousness