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Is Buddhism the low fertility religion of Asia?

Skirbekk, Vegard; Stonawski, Marcin LU ; Fukuda, Setsuya; Spoorenberg, Thomas; Hackett, Conrad and Muttarak, Raya (2015) In Demographic Research 32. p.1-28
Abstract
BACKGROUND The influence of religion on demographic behaviors has been extensively studied mainly for Abrahamic religions. Although Buddhism is the world's fourth largest religion and is dominant in several Asian nations experiencing very low fertility, the impact of Buddhism on childbearing has received comparatively little research attention. OBJECTIVE This paper draws upon a variety of data sources in different countries in Asia in order to test our hypothesis that Buddhism is related to low fertility. METHODS Religious differentials in terms of period fertility in three nations (India, Cambodia and Nepal) and cohort fertility in three case studies (Mongolia, Thailand and Japan) are analyzed. The analyses are divided into two parts:... (More)
BACKGROUND The influence of religion on demographic behaviors has been extensively studied mainly for Abrahamic religions. Although Buddhism is the world's fourth largest religion and is dominant in several Asian nations experiencing very low fertility, the impact of Buddhism on childbearing has received comparatively little research attention. OBJECTIVE This paper draws upon a variety of data sources in different countries in Asia in order to test our hypothesis that Buddhism is related to low fertility. METHODS Religious differentials in terms of period fertility in three nations (India, Cambodia and Nepal) and cohort fertility in three case studies (Mongolia, Thailand and Japan) are analyzed. The analyses are divided into two parts: descriptive and multivariate analyses. RESULTS Our results suggest that Buddhist affiliation tends to be negatively or not associated with childbearing outcomes, controlling for education, region of residence, age and marital status. Although the results vary between the highly diverse contextual and institutional settings investigated, we find evidence that Buddhist affiliation or devotion is not related to elevated fertility across these very different cultural settings. CONCLUSIONS Across the highly diverse cultural and developmental contexts under which the different strains of Buddhism dominate, the effect of Buddhism is consistently negatively or insignificantly related to fertility. These findings stand in contrast to studies of Abrahamic religions that tend to identify a positive link between religiosity and fertility. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Demographic Research
volume
32
pages
1 - 28
publisher
Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
external identifiers
  • wos:000347400000001
  • scopus:84921651115
ISSN
1435-9871
DOI
10.4054/DemRes.2015.32.1
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d89d2157-0b79-4a52-9a32-757d65c15692 (old id 5076035)
date added to LUP
2015-02-25 17:10:36
date last changed
2017-10-29 03:58:14
@article{d89d2157-0b79-4a52-9a32-757d65c15692,
  abstract     = {BACKGROUND The influence of religion on demographic behaviors has been extensively studied mainly for Abrahamic religions. Although Buddhism is the world's fourth largest religion and is dominant in several Asian nations experiencing very low fertility, the impact of Buddhism on childbearing has received comparatively little research attention. OBJECTIVE This paper draws upon a variety of data sources in different countries in Asia in order to test our hypothesis that Buddhism is related to low fertility. METHODS Religious differentials in terms of period fertility in three nations (India, Cambodia and Nepal) and cohort fertility in three case studies (Mongolia, Thailand and Japan) are analyzed. The analyses are divided into two parts: descriptive and multivariate analyses. RESULTS Our results suggest that Buddhist affiliation tends to be negatively or not associated with childbearing outcomes, controlling for education, region of residence, age and marital status. Although the results vary between the highly diverse contextual and institutional settings investigated, we find evidence that Buddhist affiliation or devotion is not related to elevated fertility across these very different cultural settings. CONCLUSIONS Across the highly diverse cultural and developmental contexts under which the different strains of Buddhism dominate, the effect of Buddhism is consistently negatively or insignificantly related to fertility. These findings stand in contrast to studies of Abrahamic religions that tend to identify a positive link between religiosity and fertility.},
  author       = {Skirbekk, Vegard and Stonawski, Marcin and Fukuda, Setsuya and Spoorenberg, Thomas and Hackett, Conrad and Muttarak, Raya},
  issn         = {1435-9871},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {1--28},
  publisher    = {Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research},
  series       = {Demographic Research},
  title        = {Is Buddhism the low fertility religion of Asia?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2015.32.1},
  volume       = {32},
  year         = {2015},
}