Journal of Biosocial Science

Articles

MARITAL FERTILITY AND INCOME: MODERATING EFFECTS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS RELIGION IN UTAH

JOSEPH B. STANFORDa1 and KEN R. SMITHa2

a1 Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Utah, USA

a2 Department of Family and Consumer Studies, University of Utah, USA

Summary

Utah has the highest total fertility of any state in the United States and also the highest proportion of population affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS or Mormon Church). Data were used from the 1996 Utah Health Status Survey to investigate how annual household income, education and affiliation with the LDS Church affect fertility (children ever born) for married women in Utah. Younger age and higher education were negatively correlated with fertility in the sample as a whole and among non-LDS respondents. Income was negatively associated with fertility among non-LDS respondents. However, income was positively correlated with fertility among LDS respondents. This association persisted when instrumental variables were used to address the potential simultaneous equations bias arising from the potential endogeneity of income and fertility. The LDS religion's pronatalist stance probably encourages childbearing among those with higher income.

(Online publication October 15 2012)