Shall the religious inherit the earth?: the political implications of the second demographic transition

Eric P Kaufmann, Birkbeck College, University of London

This proposal aims to test the thesis that the world's population will become increasingly religious and politically conservative in the twenty-first century, reversing decades – even centuries - of secularisation. The dynamic for this change will be secular-religious fertility differences. Recent cross-national research confirms the relationship between religiosity and political conservatism. (Norris & Inglehart 2004; Guth et al 2005) Increasingly, research on the second demographic transition and 'lowest-low' fertility suggests that the only islands of above-replacement fertility in a sea of below-replacement fertility will be among the religious. This study attempts to bridge high-level discourses in social theory/theories of history with empirically-grounded research. The study will use data from the General Social Survey, European Values Survey and two British longitudinal surveys (BHPS and ONS Longitudinal). This will provide both a time-series and cross-sectional (or pooled) test of the proposition that the link between religiosity, fertility and politics persists across generations.

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Presented in Session 66: Religion and demographic beaviour