Publication


David McClendon and Conrad Hackett
When people shed religious identity in Ireland and Austria: Evidence from censuses
Demographic Research, 2014
URL, JabRef BibTex, Abstract
BACKGROUND Disaffiliation from religion is an important factor behind the rapid rise in persons claiming no religious affiliation in many advanced industrial countries. Scholars typically think of disaffiliation as a life course process that is confined to young adults, with little change occurring among older adults, yet few studies have examined this assumption outside the United States and Great Britain. OBJECTIVE We evaluate whether the young-adult model of disaffiliation from religion applies in Ireland and Austria, two historically Catholic-majority countries with different levels of non-affiliation growth. METHODS We use census data on religious affiliation in Ireland (1971-2011) and Austria (1971- 2001) to track aggregate changes in the percentage reporting no religious affiliation over the life course for successive birth cohorts. RESULTS We find support for the young-adult model in Ireland. However, recent cohorts in Austria exhibit a distinct pattern of disaffiliation that continues into middle adulthood. Our analysis suggests that mid-life disaffiliation in Austria is connected to a religious tax, which we argue spurs nominally affiliated adults to disaffiliate themselves, as their income rises and the costs of religious affiliation increase. CONCLUSION Our findings offer insight into some of the social factors behind recent religious change across Europe and highlight the need for more cross-national research on the age and cohort dimensions of this change.

Reference


@article{McClendon2014a,
  author = {David McClendon and Conrad Hackett},
  title = {When people shed religious identity in Ireland and Austria: Evidence from censuses},
  year = {2014},
  journal = {Demographic Research},
  volume = {31},
  number = {43},
  pages = {1297-1310},
  month = {Nov},
  url = {http://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol31/43/31-43.pdf},
  timestamp = {02.12.2014},
  abstract = {BACKGROUND
Disaffiliation from religion is an important factor behind the rapid rise in persons
claiming no religious affiliation in many advanced industrial countries. Scholars
typically think of disaffiliation as a life course process that is confined to young adults,
with little change occurring among older adults, yet few studies have examined this
assumption outside the United States and Great Britain.
OBJECTIVE
We evaluate whether the young-adult model of disaffiliation from religion applies in
Ireland and Austria, two historically Catholic-majority countries with different levels of
non-affiliation growth.
METHODS
We use census data on religious affiliation in Ireland (1971-2011) and Austria (1971-
2001) to track aggregate changes in the percentage reporting no religious affiliation
over the life course for successive birth cohorts.
RESULTS
We find support for the young-adult model in Ireland. However, recent cohorts in
Austria exhibit a distinct pattern of disaffiliation that continues into middle adulthood.
Our analysis suggests that mid-life disaffiliation in Austria is connected to a religious
tax, which we argue spurs nominally affiliated adults to disaffiliate themselves, as their
income rises and the costs of religious affiliation increase.
CONCLUSION
Our findings offer insight into some of the social factors behind recent religious change
across Europe and highlight the need for more cross-national research on the age and
cohort dimensions of this change.
}
}

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