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, and in which there are large fertility differentials across a wide range of socially defined religiosity groups, within the majority Jewish population (Okun 2013). This paper is the first to conduct multivariate analyses of recent, representative micro-level data in the Israeli setting that directly measures current religiosity and religiosity among respondents’ spouses. We perform multivariate analyses of parity progression from roughly 600 female respondents aged 20-44 in the 2009 Israel Social Survey. Preliminary 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. 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 3