Volume 41 - Article 22 | Pages 617–648  

An exploration of differences in ideal family size between Muslim and non-Muslim women in France

By Julia Behrman, Jeylan Erman

Abstract

Background: The paper explores why Muslim women in France have, on average, higher ideal family sizes than non-Muslim women to better understand the socioeconomic and sociocultural factors that underlie Muslim women’s higher desired and realized fertility.

Methods: This paper uses a sample of 9,456 female respondents from the 2008/2009 French Trajectories and Origins (TeO) survey. Two-tailed independent sample t-tests are used to estimate differences in fertility ideals, contraceptive behaviors, and background characteristics between Muslim and non-Muslim respondents. Nested mediation and decomposition analyses are used to explore the factors that explain the gap in the ideal family size between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Results: Muslim women have, on average, higher ideal family sizes than non-Muslim women, which can largely be explained by higher religiosity and higher numbers of siblings (the latter proxies for norms favoring large families). On the other hand, differences in socioeconomic status and migration status are less important in explaining Muslim women’s higher ideal family sizes.

Contribution: French Muslim women’s higher ideal family sizes are not anomalies but can be contextualized within a larger set of patterns common to more religious women from diverse religious backgrounds, such as high religiosity and family norms prioritizing large family sizes.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Women's employment and fertility in a global perspective (1960–2015)
Volume 43 - Article 25

Fathers on call? A study on the sharing of care work between parents in Sweden
Volume 39 - Article 2

The relationship between women's paid employment and women's stated son preference in India
Volume 36 - Article 52

Out of Sync? Demographic and other social science research on health conditions in developing countries
Volume 24 - Article 2

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Fertility decline, changes in age structure, and the potential for demographic dividends: A global analysis
Volume 50 - Article 9    | Keywords: age structure, demographic dividend, demographic transition, fertility, migration, population momentum, working-age population

Analyzing hyperstable population models
Volume 49 - Article 37    | Keywords: birth trajectory, cohort analysis, cyclical populations, dynamic population model, fertility, hyperstable, period

Ultra-Orthodox fertility and marriage in the United States: Evidence from the American Community Survey
Volume 49 - Article 29    | Keywords: age at first marriage, American Community Survey (ACS), fertility, Judaism, marriage, religion, total fertility rate (TFR), Ultra-Orthodox Judaism

Advanced or postponed motherhood? Migrants’ and natives’ gap between ideal and actual age at first birth in Spain
Volume 49 - Article 22    | Keywords: actual age at first birth, age at arrival, fertility, ideal age at first birth, international migration, motherhood, Spain

Religion and union dissolution: Effects of couple and municipal religiosity on divorce and separation
Volume 49 - Article 20    | Keywords: couples, cross-level effects, religion, union dissolution