Volume 33 - Article 34 | Pages 985–1014  

First conjugal union and religion: Signs contrary to the Second Demographic Transition in Brazil?

By Ana Paula Verona, Claudio Dias Jr., Dimitri Fazito, Paula Miranda-Ribeiro


Background: Two of main characteristics of the Latin American conjugal union pattern are the early entry into first union and the increasing proportion of informal unions. These features have been associated, respectively, with the strong presence and role of family ties in promoting economic and social stability and with changing attitudes in the family, ethnic, and religious spheres.

Objective: The objective of this study is to examine the association of religion with entry into first conjugal union and type of first union (formal or informal) among women aged 20-29 years old in Brazil.

Methods: Data from the 2006 National Survey on Demography and Health and logistic regression models were used. Considering the cross-sectional nature of the data, an attempt was made to infer the causal direction of the relationship between religion and first conjugal union and type of union.

Results: The main results show that Evangelical women (Missionary and Pentecostal), when compared to Catholics, have much higher odds of being in a union for the first time (suggesting early age at the time of union) and of engaging in a formal union. This result contradicts the common finding observed in Latin America that women in early unions prefer an informal union.

Conclusions: The results contribute to the discussion on potential signs of the Second Demographic Transition (SDT) in Brazil. The two features observed among Evangelical women, early and formal marriage, are aspects that inhibit or delay the diffusion of the conjugal union pattern suggested by this approach.

Author's Affiliation

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