Religiosity and Fertility: Jews in Israel

Barbara S. Okun, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

We analyze the effects of religiosity on fertility among Jews in Israel, which is a rare example of a modern democracy in which there is no separation of religion and State. Preliminary results from multivariate analyses of parity progression using micro-level data from roughly 600 female respondents in the 2009 Israel Social Survey reveal large fertility differentials across religiosity groups. Moreover, these results are consistent with a theoretical framework, outlined by McQuillan (2004) and C. Goldscheider (1999), which suggests how religiosity affects fertility. In particular, the influence of religiosity is partially mediated by family building norms and magnified by community effects. While women’s employment activity is significantly related to fertility, controlling for paid work does not change the estimated relationship between religiosity and fertility. We conclude that, unlike in most other developed societies, the institutional power of religion in Israel remains strong.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility Intentions and Behavior