Religion, ethnicity and fertility behavior in Fars Province of Iran

Afshan Javadi, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences
Aliyar Ahmadi, Shiraz University

Introduction: Fertility as one of the main parameters of demographic change is affected by economic, social and cultural factors. Among these influential factors the interaction of religion and ethnicity plays an important role. This study aim at investigating the differences in fertility behavior of Sunnis and Shias, as different religious groups, and different ethnic groups of Turk, Lur, Arab and Persian in Fars province, 2015. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in rural areas of Fars province. The sample of study includes 1535 married women (Sunni-Persians (204), Shia-Persians (485), Shia-Turks (217), Shia-Lurs (194), Shia- Arabs (200), and nomads (235)). The subjects were selected by classified cluster sampling. Interviews were carried out in order to obtain demographic data, fertility history and ideals of childbearing. Data processing was performed using Descriptive statistics, and inferential statistics including Correlation and One-Way ANOVA. Findings: The results indicate that the mean age of women in Sunni and Shia groups, is 32.7 and 32.9 respectively. The mean age of women from different ethnic groups of Lur, Arab and Turk is 32.4, 31.5 and 33.9 respectively. The highest mean of desired fertility is in Sunnis (3.4±0.8) and nomads (3.02±1.1). Based on the results of the study, there is a significant and negative correlation between desired fertility and variables of woman`s age at marriage and age at the birth of the first child (except in Arab ethnic groups) (p<0.05). One-way analysis of variance indicates that there is a significant difference among educational groups in terms of desired fertility (except Arabs) (p<0.05), but there is no significant effect of financial level on desired fertility (except Lur ethnic) (P>0.05). Conclusion: In this study, ethnicity, religion and being in nomadic context have been influential in determining fertility behavior. These results could play important roles in population policy making.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session 1