The Decline of Spanish Fertility: The Role of Religion

Ryohei Mogi*, Albert Esteve, Vegard F. Skirbekk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

8 Downloads (Pure)


UNLABELLED: The Spanish total fertility rate declined from 2.8 to below 1.4 children per woman from 1975 to 2020. Spain is categorized as a "lowest-low fertility" country. Although there have been many attempts to explain the Spanish fertility decline, there has been an insufficient focus been given to religion. This brief report aims to analyse how religious affiliation, particularly being Catholics, associates with fertility behaviours-entering parenthood and the total number of children. Using three nationally representative surveys, we show that, compared with the religiously non-affiliated, Catholic women have a higher likelihood of entering parenthood after controlling for demographic, union status and educational characteristics. After controlling for changes in education and union formation, changes in religious affiliation account for approximately 4% of the cohort variation in the age at first birth, but there is no significant contribution for men nor to the total number of children for both sexes.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10680-022-09644-1.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Population
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1333–1346
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Albert Esteve acknowledges funding from the following grant: PID2021-124267OB-I00 and Vegard F. Skirbekk acknowledges the support of the Norwegian Research Council [NRC grant 262700].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Entering parenthood
  • Fertility
  • Religion
  • Spain
  • Total number of children


Dive into the research topics of 'The Decline of Spanish Fertility: The Role of Religion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this