Secularization and Aging in Britain: Does Family Formation Cause Greater Religiosity?

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Using data from the British Election Studies and the British Household Panel Study, this research note examines how family formation factors, such as marriage and childrearing, affect church attendance in Britain. Debates in the United States have centered on how, first, apparent aging effects could be due to family formation or be evidence for cohort differences, and, second, how family formation effects are sex specific. This research note shows that sex-specific effects are also present in Britain, but more importantly that family formation alone cannot begin to account for differences between age groups in church attendance. Evidence presented here suggests that generational differences are actually responsible for both age disparities and the large declines over time in church attendance in Britain.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2003

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