Religion, Family Size, and Child Success

Project summary: Across cultures, people who self-identify as religious tend to have more children than their secular counterparts, yet we have little understanding of how religion impacts the number of children people have or their children’s health and educational outcomes. Moreover, processes of modernization greatly affect fertility, but it is unclear how these processes interact with religion’s influence on reproductive decision-making and child success. To address these issues our team will collect data on reproductive decisions and child investments in Bangladesh, India, The Gambia, Malawi, and the United States.


Funding: John Templeton Foundation



2021 Spake, Laure, Susan Schaffnit, Rebecca Sear, Mary Shenk, Richard Sosis, and John Shaver. Mother’s partnership status and allomothering networks in the United Kingdom and United States. Social Sciences. 10: 182.
2021 Shenk, Mary, Siobhan Mattison, Rebecca Sear, Nural Alam, Rubhana Raqib, Anjan Kumar, Farjana Haque, Tami Blumenfield, John, Shaver, Richard Sosis, and Katherine Wander. Social support, nutrition and health among women in rural Bangladesh: complex tradeoffs in allocare, kin proximity and support network size. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 376: 20200027.
2020 Shaver, John, Eleanor Power, Benjamin Purzycki, Joseph Watts, Rebecca Sear, Mary Shenk Richard Sosis, Joseph Bulbulia. Church attendance and alloparenting: an analysis of fertility, social support, and child development among English mothers. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 375: 20190428.
2019 Shaver, John, Chris Sibley, Richard Sosis, Dean Galbraith, and Joseph Bulbulia. Alloparenting and Religious Fertility: A Test of the Religious Alloparenting Hypothesis. Evolution and Human Behavior 40: 315-324.