Religious socialisation and fertility: the transition to the third birth in the Netherlands

Caroline Berghammer, Vienna Institute of Demography

The study examines the interplay between religious socialisation and current religiosity regarding their impact on the transition to the third child. It is based on data of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (2002-04, first wave) and considers women aged 24 to 65. The measures for religious socialisation are the importance of religion and father’s affiliation when the respondent was 15 years old. The Netherlands have been experiencing a faster and more profound secularisation than most other parts of Europe, implying that the setting in which a person is socialised has changed notably over time. The findings reveal that current religiosity, predominantly church attendance, is a better predictor of actual fertility than the importance of religion at age 15. This result applies especially to younger cohorts of women. Those who remain religious among the religiously socialised are a select group that shows particular behaviour. I also observe that respondents who do not attend church but have a religious background exhibit a higher transition rate to the third birth than women who were not raised in a religious way. Furthermore, father’s affiliation during the respondent’s adolescence emerges as significant while respondent’s own current affiliation does not. Here too a socialisation effect is at work. The category of non-affiliated respondents not only consists of women without religious upbringing but also of those who grew up in a religious family, which increases the overall transition risk and renders the non-affiliated indifferent from the affiliated. The group of the non-affiliated fathers, on the other hand, is less heterogeneous and therefore differs from those belonging to a faith. The method that is employed to model the risk of the occurrence of the third birth is event history analysis.

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Presented in Session 11: Religion and Fertility