Muslim – Christian Fertility Differences in Poor Communities in Lebanon
Marwan Khawaja, American University of Beirut
Afamia Kaddour, Harvard University
We examine differentials in fertility behavior between Muslims and Christians in poor communities in Greater Beirut, Lebanon using data from the Urban Health Survey. The findings show that Muslims residing in low SES communities have higher fertility than their Christian counterparts for all the reproductive age groups especially among women younger than 30 years. Muslim women, on average, have about two children more than Christian women, and the gap is greater among married women. The probabilities of progressing from one parity to the next are also greater among Muslims for every birth order. We test several hypotheses to explain the higher Muslim fertility and evaluate the applicability of various theories of fertility differentials to the Lebanese socio-political context.