Volume 41 - Article 5 | Pages 103–124

Does the association between children and happiness vary by level of religiosity? The evidence from Israel

By Jona Schellekens

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Date received:28 Jan 2019
Date published:10 Jul 2019
Word count:2448
Keywords:children, happiness, religiosity
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2019.41.5
 

Abstract

Background: There is a widespread belief that parenthood makes people happier. However, research has shown mixed results on the association between happiness and fertility, finding evidence for both positive and negative consequences of having children. The relationship appears to be highly context-specific. This article investigates whether the relationship varies by level of religiosity. Mounting evidence suggests that there is a positive relationship between religiosity and fertility, suggesting that the religious will have a stronger positive relationship between number of children and happiness than those who are not religious.

Objective: This study investigates whether the relationship between number of children and overall life satisfaction varies with the level of religiosity.

Methods: Using a pooled file of the Israel Social Survey for 2002–2016, which includes more than 100,000 respondents, I estimated a linear regression model of overall life satisfaction as a function of the number of children and level of religiosity.

Results: My results show that, contrary to expectations, religious Jews do not have a stronger positive relationship between number of children and overall life satisfaction. Among older respondents, Ultra-Orthodox Jews actually have a weaker relationship between number of children and overall life satisfaction than Jews who are not religious.

Contribution: To the best of my knowledge, this is the first study to show that the religious do not necessarily have a stronger positive relationship between number of children and happiness than those who are not religious.

Author's Affiliation

Jona Schellekens - Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Maternal education and infant mortality decline: The evidence from Indonesia, 1980–2015
Volume 45 - Article 24

» The role of education in explaining trends in self-rated health in the United States, 1972–2018
Volume 42 - Article 12

» Religiosity and marital fertility among Muslims in Israel
Volume 39 - Article 34

» The decline in consanguineous marriage among Muslims in Israel: The role of education
Volume 37 - Article 61

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