Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 23, 2003
Religious Canadians usually want children, says survey
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
Religious Canadians are more likely to want children than those who have no religion, says Statistics Canada in its newly released summer 2003 issue of Canadian Social Trends.
"Religious traditions are generally linked with values and attitudes that support marriage and parenthood," says an article based on the 2001 General Social Survey (GSS) on family and friends. "Research shows that there is a positive association between religious participation and traditional attitudes about family formation."
The article, entitled Childfree by Choice, reported that Canadians with no religious affiliation are more likely not to plan a family than their religious counterparts. Among those in the age group 20-34, 12 per cent of those with no religious affiliation expected to stay childfree, compared to six per cent of religious Canadians.
The data confirm the survey of 1995, which found that weekly attenders of religious services placed greater importance on lasting relationships, getting married and having at least one child than those who never attended.
"Women's roles, economic conditions, religion, social security systems and the availability of effective contraceptives are just a few of the possible factors that may affect fertility," the article stated.
However, only a small proportion of young Canadians responding to the 2001 survey say they intend to remain childfree, with the "vast majority" reporting they intend to have at least one child, said the article. "In 2001, only seven per cent of Canadians aged 20 to34, representing 434,000 individuals, indicated that they did not intend to have children," it said.
"Research shows that there is a positive association between religious participation and traditional attitudes about family formation."
- Statistics Canada
The reasons given for not intending to have children are diverse and include medical conditions that may preclude the possibility. "Others, despite never having consciously decided to forego children, may now find themselves in a situation not conducive to child rearing, such as not having met the right partner, living with a partner who does not want children, or having a career that is too demanding to allow time for the care of a child."
In its summary, the article states that "Despite a weakening link between children and marriage, childbearing is still associated with a committed relationship."
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