Men and women who attended church at least once a week were respectively 5 andRandall sees this as suggesting that the propensity to attend church is being selected against. That butts up against the fact that church attendance is a predictor of higher rather than of lower fertility. From the turn of the century to today, the mean number of children among those aged 25-45, by frequency of church attendance (N = 6,207):
3.9 times more likely to be virgins than those who attended church less often.
|Less than once a year||1.34|
|Several times a year||1.56|
|2-3 times a month||1.84|
|Nearly every week||1.94|
|More than once a week||1.90|
Obviously unmarried virgins are not buoying the fecundity of the religiously active, and unmarried churchgoers are more likely to be virgins than unmarried pre-game football votaries are. Yet this doesn't translate into lower average fertility among those who sit in the pews than among those who do not, because bachelors and bachelorettes comprise a larger percentage of the pagan population than they do the pious. The following table shows the percentage of those aged 25-45 who are married, by frequency of church attendance:
|Less than once a year||49.3%|
|Several times a year||57.7%|
|2-3 times a month||60.7%|
|Nearly every week||64.6%|
|More than once a week||74.0%|
Most non-attenders are unmarried, while those free of marital vows constitute only one in four regular worshippers. Marrital status is a strong predictor of fertility. Continuing with the same age cohort (25-45) over the same period of time (2000-2008), unmarried people average a paltry 1.15 children compared to 1.91 for married folks.
It is these married folks who do the procreating, and, relative to the unmarried, they're a lot more likely to reserve Sunday mornings for their transcedent God than they are to reserve Saturday nights for their transgressive gods. The relatively high incidence of virginity among unmarried weekly churchgoers aged 25-45 does weigh down the total fertility of the pious, but the demographic is a featherweight--it constitutes just 9.5% of all weekly attendees aged 18 and older and only 2.4% of the total adult population. The 68% of regular churchgoers who are married (and 75% among those aged 25-45*) more than make up for the barrenness of their virgin co-congregates.
The GSS confirms that unmarried weekly attendees are more likely to be virgins than those who attend less frequently are. However, even among the unmarried, churchgoers outdo those who steer clear of houses of worship. Though unmarried people inside a church are more likely to be innocent than those outside its walls, the chaste constitute a minority of the unmarried population in both cases. And those unmarried churchgoers who do get busy pick up the baby-making slack of those who abstain--and then some. Among the unmarried aged 25-45, the average number of children of those who attend church on at least a weekly basis is 1.29. For those attending less frequently than that, it is 1.12.
Parenthetically, it shouldn't be surprising that among the unmarried, regular church attendees are more than four times as likely to be virgins than is the rest of the unmarried population. In remaining chaste, they're merely adhering to the tenets of their religions, just as their fellow married worshippers are in being fruitful and multiplying. Also, keep in mind that those who are holding out for a marriage they will eventually avail themselves of are faring better in the Darwinian struggle than are those who've shown a coven of women the sheets they sleep on. The most fecund people are those who have only shared themselves with one other person.
No children out of wedlock, lots of children once ensconsced in it. Sounds like an ameliorative prescription for a sick civilization to me. I'm encouraged to know people who strive to realize this ideal are outbreeding those who have no use for it.
GSS variables used: YEAR(2000-2008), MARITAL(1)(2-5), ATTEND(0-6)(7-8), SEXFREQ, CHILDS, AGE(18-89)(25-45)
* Due to the death of a spouse, the likelihood of being married is lower among all adults than among those aged 25-45. Of all adults regularly attending church, 8% are widowed. Together with those who are married, this constitutes 76% of the total weekly church-attending population.