Religion and Fertility in Canada
19 July 2023
Canadian fertility rates have fallen sharply in recent decades and are now at levels far below what Canadian women say they want. Understanding this reality merits closer inspection. Our earlier paper, “She’s (Not) Having a Baby,” examined why half of Canadian women are falling short of their fertility desires. In this release, we use the same novel survey of 2,700 Canadian women to explore the role that Canada’s changing and diverse religious ecology plays in shaping fertility. This study illuminates to what extent, and through what means, religion influences fertility.Overall, we find that Canadian women who attend religious services at least monthly desire to have more children, spend more of their life married, and ultimately have more children than nominally religious or nonreligious Canadian women. Contrary to popular narratives, our survey results show no evidence of meaningful differences in women’s employment across different religious groups. In other words, religious women have access to the same economic opportunities as nonreligious women. We take this to mean their higher fertility is not due to a lack of employment among religious women.