Thursday, April 09, 2009

Atheism and fertility: Using World Values Survey and World Factbook data, I calculated the correlation for 59 countries between the percent who don't believe in God and: 1) the total fertility rate (TFR), and 2) the closeness of the TFR to 2. I computed the first for those concerned about Western countries with below-replacement fertility and the second for those concerned with population stability or over-population.

The Pearson correlation coefficient for the first pair is -.40; for the second pair, it's .25. So, atheism is moderately correlated with subreplacement, but only weakly correlated with population stability.

(If I get time later, I'll control for socioeconomic level since doing so might erase these correlations.)

1 comment:

Sam said...

This has been known for a while. The closest exceptions to this rule is Eastern Europe which is getting religious and has dropping popuations and the US with similar circumstances.

I presume the correlation is due to both being tied to economic prosperity which helps lower family sizes... any other theories?