Historical Social Research

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Jan Kok: Church Affiliation and Life Course Transitions in The Netherlands, 1850-1970. [Abstract]

The Netherlands, with dozens of different religious denominations, offer a fine laboratory to study religious differentials in demographic behavior. In this article, I analyze a large historical database with more than 30.000 reconstructed life courses, to answer the question whether statistically significant and consistent behavioral differences across life course domains existed between members of different churches. For each domain – marriage, co-residence, fertility and mortality – the question will be whether the specific ideology of the denominations accounts for the differences or whether the social milieu or life style of the members of these denomination are more important, even after controlling for socio-economic status. By charting demographic differentials across the life course, it becomes possible to detect whether different churches had specific “life scripts” or ideal scenarios according to which their members should live their lives.

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