A Century of Portuguese Fertility

A Century of Portuguese Fertility

Copyright Date: 1971
Pages: 168
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  • Book Info
    A Century of Portuguese Fertility
    Book Description:

    This book treats aspects of the social and demographic history of Portugal in the last century, giving particular attention to the transition from a situation of very high fertility to the moderate pattern prevailing in recent times.

    Originally published in 1971.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7011-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. v-vi)
    Ansley J. Coale

    In 1964 the Office of Population Research at Princeton embarked on an extended study of the modern decline of fertility in Europe. The project originated in the realization that every country in Europe, and indeed almost every one of the more than 700 provinces in Europe, has very substantially lower birth rates than in the fairly recent past. In most provinces, in fact, the number of children born per woman is no more than half what it was a century or so ago. This pervasive change is an important part of the social history of Europe because a major change...

  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Chapter 1: Environment and Society: An Introductory Outline
    (pp. 3-13)

    In western Europe, Portugal is probably the country least known and studied by social scientists, although it represents a very interesting case study in view of its peculiar development. Our study aims to cover an important part of the social and demographic history of the country, and is mainly concerned with the transition from a situation of high, almost uncontrolled fertility to the moderate pattern prevailing in recent times. In addition, we offer an analysis of the peculiarities and changes of Portuguese society that have determined, directly or indirectly, the decline of fertility.

    This introductory chapter therefore outlines the environmental...

  5. Chapter 2: Population Development During the Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 14-22)

    Information on the Portuguese population before 1864, year of the first modern census, is not abundant.¹ The cadastral enumeration of 1527, during the reign of João III, is the earliest source of a reliable estimate of the population of the country. At that time around 290,000 households were enumerated, but the lack of precise information as to the size of the household makes it very difficult to convert this figure into total population. However, we would not be too far from the truth estimating a total population of around 1.2 million. The later enumerations of 1636 and, under the Spanish...

  6. Chapter 3: Population Statistics and Population Growth During the Last Century
    (pp. 23-37)

    The census of 1864 is the first with modern characteristics; the count was nominative, simultaneous, and individually taken. Another census followed in 1878, and subsequently a law was passed in 1887 that required a census to be taken every ten years, beginning in 1890.¹

    In Portugal we encounter the same problems that exist in the censuses of other countries with a low level of social development. The age distribution is strongly affected by misreporting of ages, the distorting influence of which has been very strong until relatively recent times. The distortion is strong enough to influence five-year age groups as...

  7. Chapter 4: Trends and Differentials in Portuguese Nuptiality
    (pp. 38-54)

    The analysis of nuptiality and of its changes through time is a necessary preliminary to the study of fertility. In western Europe in the nineteenth century the age at which marriage occurred and the proportion of persons remaining single at the end of their fecund life influenced fertility at least as much as differences in the rate at which married women bore children.

    As a first step, it is important to have an exact quantitative knowledge of the terms of the problem. To give an example, in 1878 the proportion of women of childbearing age who were currently married was,...

  8. Chapter 5: A Descriptive Outline of Regional Fertility
    (pp. 55-79)

    Official statistics of vital events make it possible to follow the fertility of the Portuguese districts from 1890 to 1960. As we have said previously, the data until the beginning of this century have been adjusted in an effort to eliminate underregistration of births.

    The measures of fertility adopted in this chapter are exclusively period measures derived from the combination of vital and census statistics. The information on fertility that can be derived from the 1940, 1950, and 1960 census surveys will be examined at length in the following chapter.

    For the descriptive analysis of regional fertility, we have computed...

  9. Chapter 6: Fertility, Family Size, and Sterility
    (pp. 80-100)

    The censuses of 1940, 1950, and 1960 asked married women a few questions about the number of children ever born to them. These data, adequately elaborated, offer valuable information not otherwise available. First of all, the censuses make it possible to know the completed size of Portuguese families, a useful measure in itself of fertility, and also important because of its presumed effect on the motivation to control fertility. It is also possible to measure the level of sterility of the married women, an important element for the knowledge of a relevant biological aspect of fertility. Secondarily, census statistics make...

  10. Chapter 7: Factors Involved in Portugal’s Fertility Decline
    (pp. 101-124)

    Demographers know how hard it is, for several reasons, to attempt to determine the factors accounting for a decline in fertility. In the first place, we are often forced to deal with very aggregated data; the varying unit—when studying the interrelationships between fertility and other socioeconomic variables—is generally the population of a certain area, instead of the individual couple. Therefore, the independent variables which demographers are forced to correlate with fertility are the social, economic, educational characteristics of the population of each area, which have to be measured by means of percentages, rates, or ratios. We are often...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 125-132)

    The statistical and qualitative evidence presented and analyzed in this study calls for a final discussion and reappraisal of the principal findings.

    One of the more interesting aspects of Portuguese demography is the relatively low level of fertility before the start of the modern decline, together with the existence, during the same period, of substantial differences between north and south. The marital fertility of Portuguese women never exceeded 70 percent of the fertility of the Hutterites, a performance well in line with the patterns existing in Spain and in Italy before the end of the nineteenth-century. The fertility of the...

  12. Appendix
    (pp. 133-136)
  13. Official Statistical Sources
    (pp. 137-138)
  14. Other References
    (pp. 139-142)
  15. Index
    (pp. 143-150)