Regional Demographic Differences: the Effect of Laestadians

Emma Terämä
Laestadianism, a conservative revival movement inside the Lutheran church, has an estimated 100,000 followers in Finland. Laestadians have characteristics differing from the followers of the mainstream state church in areas such as religious activity, regional concentration, fertility and family planning, but these are generally not quantified due to lack of easily accessible data. This study highlights the importance of including location and religiosity, and not only religious affiliation in
more » ... ous affiliation in the study of fertility behaviour. The research uses statistical tools to study the correlations between such variables as religious density and total fertility rate. It is found that on the regional level, the total fertility rate and the increasing number of small children in the family is positively associated with the proportion of Laestadians. The regional variation of religiousness, and the subsequent effects on population structure and socioeconomics are discussed.