The Impact of Protestantism on Fertility Behaviors of Adolescents in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Sarah McKinnon, University of Texas at Austin
Virginia Garrard-Burnett, University of Texas at Austin

In recent history Brazil has experienced a dramatic shift in its religious composition with decreasing rates of Catholicism and increasing rates of Protestantism. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the potential impact of increasing Protestantism on adolescent fertility. Using micro-data from the 2000 Brazilian Census for the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro we find that Protestants have lower adolescent fertility rates when compared to Catholics. In addition, among adolescent females with a child born in the previous year, Protestants are much more likely to either be married or cohabiting at the time of the census. Protestant religious affiliation appears to provide a protective effect in terms of adolescent fertility behavior. This finding provides evidence that the changing religious composition of Brazil may have a profound impact on many aspects of society including, but not limited to, adolescent fertility.

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Presented in Session 73: Comparative Trends in Adolescent Fertility