Religious differences in women’s fertility and labour force participation in France

Nitzan Peri-Rotem, Oxford University

Recent studies across Europe and North America point to the persistent relationship between various dimensions of religion and social and demographic behaviour. Higher level of religiosity is found related to stronger attachment to marriage and a larger family size, which may be linked to religious differences in female labour force participation and investments in education. Moreover, socioeconomic factors may be influenced by religious values, which emphasize the role of women as mothers and wives and promote traditional gender division of labour. The purpose of this paper is to examine the interrelationships between fertility, educational attainment and labour force participation among religious and non-religious women in France. The data for this study are taken from the French Generations and Gender Survey, which was carried out in 2005 on a representative sample of over 10,000 people aged 18-79. The findings show that the link between education and fertility varies by level of religiosity; while a negative relation is found among the non-religious, there is a U-shaped relation for the more religious women. In addition, highly educated religious women are less likely to participate in the labour force, while all other things being equal.

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Presented in Poster Session 2