Religion as a Determinant in Term Paper

  • Length: 22 pages
  • Sources: 15
  • Subject: Mythology - Religion
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #88879017

Excerpt from Term Paper :

9%-11.2% while the proportion of Hindus decreased from 84.9%-82.7%. He could not attribute the proportional changes to differences in migration or mortality, but to differences in fertility. Census and survey data show fertility is higher among Muslims than among Hindus, he claims. The total marital fertility rate for Muslim women was 11% higher in urban areas and 20% higher in rural areas than the rate for Hindus in those same areas, according to the 1971 census data. Even when education was controlled, the Muslim rate was higher. The 11 demographic survey findings reveal consistently higher fertility rates for Muslims than Hindus. When education and socioeconomic factors were controlled, studies demonstrated that differences narrowed yet remained.

Balasubramanian claims that one of three hypotheses is generally used to explain the differences. The first hypothesis attributes the fertility differences to background or socioeconomic characteristics of the two populations, but this explanation can not be supported when socioeconomic controls are introduced. The second hypothesis states that minority status is the cause of high fertility. But this hypothesis is easily refuted. In predominantly Muslim countries, Hindu minorities have lower fertilityrates. The third hypothesis claims fertility differences are due to religious beliefs concerning reproduction. However, both Islam and Hinduism are pronatalist religions, even though the two religions differ in regard to their beliefs concerning marriage, reproductive behavior, and fertility control. These differences have differing impacts on the variables influencing fertility. The intermediate variables include age at marriage, marriage stability, and contraceptive use.

In contrast to Hindu beliefs, Islamic beliefs support polygamy, allow for easy divorce in case of infertility, and allow widows to remarry. Yet Hindu women are more likely than Muslim women to return to their family for a period of time following the birth of their first and second children, and this reduces exposure to the risk of pregnancy for Hindu women. Muslim women are less receptive to family planning. A national survey indicated that 17% of Hindu women compared to 13% of Muslim women ever used contraception. Hindu women not only use family planning, but sterilization rates are higher among them.

Rural and Urban Effects on Fertility

Balasubramanian's goal was to demonstrate how, while positive, modern changes are occurring in India, religious impacts on intermediate variables will decrease, and religious differentials in fertility will decline.

A study bearing on this subject by Matin was done to determine whether in Bangladesh a wife's educational level significantly affects her desire for more children, or whether Bangladesh has not yet reached the threshold of socioeconomic development where education has any effect on the number of additional children desired. The analysis was carried out in a rural-urban context and also at different stages in the woman's life cycle, as defined by parity at time of interview. Two to three live births were considered early stage, and four or more were defined as later stage. The analysis was carried out on 2791 women selected from the Bangladesh Fertility Survey of 1975-76 who at the time of interview met the criteria of being married, fecund, parity of two or more, and having a husband present in the household. Matin explained:

The method used to perform the analysis was the Maximum Likelihood estimation method for the truncated dependent variable developed by J. Tobin. The method is a hybrid of probit analysis and classical regression and was chosen because the dependent variable, number of additional children desired, had a clustering of values at the lower limit of O. Separate regressions were run by life cycle stage (parity) and rural-urban background. The effect of variables such as the education of the husband, age, age at first marriage, work status of wife, number of living male children, and infant mortality were held constant in order to find the impact of education on desired fertility (Matin 41).

The resulting study found the number of additional children desired by rural wives was greater than that desired by urban wives at all stages of the life cycle. The mean number of additional children desired by a rural wife at the early stage of the life cycle was.57 and in the later stage.15. Urban women desired.29 and.12. Neither educational levels of wife and husband nor the age of the wife at first marriage were significant. The age of the woman was not significant in urban areas but was negatively significant in rural areas. The percent of dead children was positively significant in both urban and rural areas for early stage women but for later stage women only in rural areas. In rural areas also the number of living male children was positively significant. As a result of the study, the author believes Bangladesh is not at the developmental level where education affects desire for additional children and desire for fertility is more influenced by income, infant mortality, and preference for male children.

Fertility decisions and desires in Bangladesh

Sirageldin reported on two models that were developed to examine fertility behavior in Bangladesh. The first model dealt with the total number of ever-born children to a couple; the second examines sequential decisions that characterize the desire for an additional child. The "Chicago-Columbia" or "New Home Economics" approach was used, but to the usual economic variables were added sociological and demographic variables; and fertility was examined in relation to the prices of child services consumed as well as a valuation of the mother's time. The data for the study were drawn from a sample of 3088 currently married women respondents to the 1968/69 Impact Survey (an extended KAP survey). Whether the families were Hindu or Muslim was a factor in this study. Examination of this study is important as a control study and to determine if worldwide, other factors affecting fertility are similar to the effect that religion makes.

The model used four interior variables: total live births, number of dead children, current income, and female labor force participation. These were examined in terms of 14 exterior variables, including property ownership, age, literacy, awareness of family planning, rural vs. urban, type of family, size of family, and schooling. The model was built on four equations with parameters "estimated by two-stage least squares technic and then subjected to multivariate analysis" (Sirageldin 329-350).

The model for demand for additional children added five exterior variables including sex of children, desire for children, and perceived need for education of children. The model was researched using standard probit analysis. Interpretation of the two models showed that 1) Income was positively related to completed family size but has no effect on desire for additional children;

2) female education, female employment, and cost of fertility control had no effect in either model;

3) Age at marriage had a positive effect on completed family size but none on desire for additional children;

4) Urban women had more live births, but rural women were more likely to want additional children;

5) Sex preference for boys is intense in Bangladesh.

The study concludes that:

1) Economic well-being effects fertility;

2) the more adequate couples consider their income, the more likely they are to want more children;

3) Female education and employment have no effect on either completed family size or desire for more children;

4) There are no clear effects of family planning programs on either; and 5) desire for more children decreases as the number of children, particularly sons, increases.

Effect of Religion through Fertility Norms and Possibility of Dissolution

This paper develops two hypotheses concerning husbands' and wives' religious affiliations on fertility. The hypotheses are based on two central ideas. First, religions differ in their fertility norms and corresponding tradeoffs between the quality and quantity of children; differences in religious beliefs between husband and wife may thus lead to conflict regarding fertility decisions and possible resolution through bargaining. Second, if the spouses were not religiously compatible, there was a higher probability of marital dissolution and thereby the possibility of having children. Data from the 1987-1988 National Survey of Families and Households conducted in the U.S. suggest that both of these effects help explain the observed links between religious composition of unions and fertility.

The relationship between religion and fertility: Evidence from Austria

Data from the Austrian Family and Fertility Survey were used to examine for the first time the relationship between religion and fertility in first unions in Austria. Although Austria is a Catholic country, results from a Poisson hurdle model show that both women's denominational affiliation and religiosity affect the number of children born. Simply whether unions have religious composition does not result in clear evidence. Furthermore religion has is no effect of on the timing of births. There is a puzzle to be made from the results, however: Females and unions of other than Catholic or no religious affiliation have a higher transition rate to third birth.

The Religious Denomination Factor in Fertility in Canada

The data in the sample revealed substantial differences between visible minority groups in the area of religious beliefs (Table 1). For example, most Chinese and…

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