Pittsburgh, United States

Pittsburgh is the only study site where will not be working within a Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS). Rather, the Survey Research Center (SRC) of Pennsylvania State University (PSU) helped us implement our study, overseeing recruitment and data collection. We worked closely with the SRC to make the data collection process as similar as possible to that in the HDSS sites. Even so, we anticipated several differences such as the inclusion of non-religious people in the study.

Data Collection

Survey data collection in the US is ongoing and expected to be complete in early 2023. Unlike the other data collection sites, in the US we did not select participants randomly from a health surveillance area as no such area or complete list of local residents exists. Rather the SRC sent out over 27,000 postcards to women in the Greater Pittsburgh Area with information about participating in our research. Recipients were encouraged to follow a link to an eligibility survey online. If a recipient filled out the survey and was found to be eligible for participation, a Zoom interview was arranged with an SRC researcher. Our target sample for this site is 550-600 women, divided roughly equally between Christians and those who are Unaffiliated.

We have also conducted 6 focus groups with Christian and Unaffiliated women in Pittsburgh focusing on adding depth to our understanding of topics covered by the survey including religious practices, reproductive decision making, and childcare.

What happens next?

We are nearly finished with data collection in Pittsburgh and will soon begin data cleaning and analysis.  We will be working with the data to answer our research questions about religion, fertility, and child health. We anticipate some papers focusing just on Pittsburgh while other papers will compare across all five data collection sites.

The Evolutionary Dynamics of Religion, Family Size, and Child Success

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