A close correlation exists between the fertility rates in a society and its levels of religiosity, and the strength of institutional religion. The nature of causation or correlation is open to debate, but the linkage is strong, and applies across faith traditions. In a modern context, the rapid growth of secularization correlates very well with the larger fertility decline, which is now becoming marked across Europe, East Asia, Latin America, and some parts of the Islamic world, in the Middle East and North Africa. This demographic change has many implications for understanding current and future developments in religion and religious behavior, and also their political dimensions. Those implications include, for instance, a rapid slowing of what has hitherto been seen as the explosive growth of Protestant and Pentecostal Christianity in Latin America, and in East Asia. Conversely, the extremely high fertility in sub-Saharan Africa corresponds to a continuing expansion of both Christian and Muslim numbers in that region.
Philip Jenkins was educated at Cambridge University, and for many years taught at Penn State. He is presently Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor University, where his main appointment is in the Institute for Studies of Religion, ISR. He has published thirty books, which have been translated into sixteen languages. These include The Next Christendom: The Coming Of Global Christianity (2002); The Lost History of Christianity (2008); Crucible of Faith: The Ancient Revolution That Made Our Modern Religious World (2017); and Fertility and Faith: The Demographic Revolution That Is Transforming All The World’s Religions (2020).
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