Abstract

The marital fertility of white Catholic wives in the United States was higher than that of non-Catholic wives in 1977–1981, but when Hispanics were excluded, the differential disappeared; therefore, the Catholic-non-Catholic differential in recent years was due entirely to the higher fertility of Hispanic Catholics. The Total Fertility Rates (TFR) of Catholics were slightly lower in 1977–1981 than those for white Protestants, primarily because Catholic women tend to marry later than Protestant women. This finding was confirmed by multivariate analysis of data on children ever born. We examine some additional data and various theories to speculate on whether these patterns will last.

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