Religious Affiliation and Fertility in a Sub-Saharan Context: Dynamic and Lifetime Perspectives

Victor Agadjanian, Scott T. Yabiku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We use uniquely detailed data from a predominantly Christian high-fertility area in Mozambique to examine denominational differentials in fertility from two complementary perspectives—dynamic and cumulative. First, we use event-history analysis to predict yearly risks of birth from denominational affiliation. Then, we employ Poisson regression to model the association between the number of children ever born and share of reproductive life spent in particular denominations or outside organized religion. Both approaches detect a significant increase in fertility associated with membership in a particular type of African-initiated churches which is characterized by strong organizational identity, rigid hierarchy, and insular corporate culture. Membership in the Catholic Church is also associated with elevated completed fertility. We relate these results to extant theoretical perspectives on the relationship between religion and fertility by stressing the interplay between ideological, social, and organizational characteristics of different types of churches and situate our findings within the context of fertility transition and religious demographics in Mozambique and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-691
Number of pages19
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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