Religion, Work-Family Gender Ideology, and Fertility

Lisa D. Pearce, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Shannon N. Davis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Given evidence suggesting (1) that religiosity and work-family gender ideology are related to childbearing; and (2) variance in religious institutions’ promotion of gendered patterns of family organization, this paper explores whether work-family gender ideology is a mechanism through which religious affiliation and/or practice influences childbearing. Using NLSY79 data, we evaluate how childhood religious affiliation, adult religious service attendance, and attitudes towards gendered family roles relate to the hazard of first premarital and marital births. We find that work-family gender ideologies somewhat mediate the elevated risk of a premarital birth for those raised Evangelical Protestant but not the negative relationship between religious service attendance and the risk of a premarital birth. Work-family gender ideology is negatively related to timing of first marital birth and does not mediate observed religion-fertility relationships. Our findings further elucidate relationships between religion and family formation and how attitudes toward gendered family organization might factor in the process.

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Presented in Session 113: Religion, Religiosity and Family Behavior