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Gender Equity, Religion, and Fertility in Europe and North America

Laurie Fields DeRose

Population and Development Review, 2021, vol. 47, issue 1, 41-55

Abstract: Religion has historically been a pronatalist force, but because it fosters traditional gender role attitudes, its importance for fertility may wane where gender equity is thought to be emerging as the new natalism. In this study, I used World Values Survey and European Values Survey data from 1989 to 2018 to determine whether more religious Northern countries are slower to develop the widespread egalitarian gender role attitudes associated with fertility recovery. I concluded that the “old natalism” and the “new natalism” do not compete with each other as much as their negative association implies that they might. By tracing the evolution of country‐level gender equity in more‐ and less religious countries of Europe and North America, I showed how country‐level religiosity does not dampen the potential for a gender equity‐stimulated fertility recovery. This paper also contributes by showing that the curvilinear relationship between gender equity and fertility has continued into more recent time periods than covered by previous work.

Date: 2021
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