The Influence of Belief in God on Fertility Desires in Slovenia and the Czech Republic

Stephen Cranney, University of Pennsylvania

Prior research on the association between religiosity and fertility has assumed a priori that the causal mechanisms involved are fundamentally social, and are embedded in formal religious structures. I question whether these premises are warranted by examining the effects of a spiritual belief generally associated with religion, in this case belief in God, on pronatalist attitudes in Slovenia and the Czech Republic, two countries that have relatively large populations of nonbelievers and people who believe in some form of God but who are not institutionally religious. I find that belief in God or a higher power has independent and significant effects on fertility desires even while controlling for self-reported religiosity. These results are robust across several measures of religiosity, suggesting that the social explanations invoked by the prior literature are not sufficient to explain the association between religiosity/spirituality and fertility desires.

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Presented in Session 183: Fertility Intentions and Influences Upon