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Historical Studies of Changing Fertility

Historical Studies of Changing Fertility

EDITED BY Charles Tilly
Lutz K. Berkner
Rudolf Braun
Richard A. Easterlin
Ronald Lee
Franklin F. Mendels
Charles Tilly
Maris A. Vinovskis
Etienne van de Walle
E. A. Wrigley
Copyright Date: 1978
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    Historical Studies of Changing Fertility
    Book Description:

    The nine papers in this volume examine the historical experience of particular populations in Western Europe and North America in a search for the processes that change fertility patterns. The contributors' findings enable them to reevaluate some of the conflicting hypotheses that have been advanced for these changes.

    The authors stress the effects on fertility of changing mortality. Several theoretical discussions emphasize the importance both of the turnover in adult positions due to mortality and of the highly variable life expectancy of children. The empirical analyses consistently reveal strong associations between levels of fertility and mortality. On the other hand, some essays question whether variations in opportunities to marry acted as quite the regulator that Malthus and many after him have thought. In both preindustrial and industrial populations, fertility regulation within marriage emerges as the primary mechanism by which adjustment occurred.

    Originally published in 1978.

    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: 978-1-4008-7145-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Series Preface
    (pp. v-viii)
    Charles Tilly
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. 1 The Historical Study of Vital Processes
    (pp. 3-56)

    Over the last two centuries, almost all western countries have experienced large declines in fertility: the rate at which their female populations bear children. The decline has been more or less continuous. It has often seemed irreversible. Little of the world outside Europe and the areas settled mainly by Europeans has experienced the massive, continuous decline of fertility. During the same period, the same Europe-centered world has undergone industrialization and urbanization to a degree almost unparalleled elsewhere.

    The fertility decline, the industrialization and the urbanization have accompanied each other closely enough to encourage the idea that industrialization and urbanizationcause...

  5. 2 The Economics and Sociology of Fertility: A Synthesis
    (pp. 57-134)

    This chapter presents an analysis, the main outlines of which were first sketched in 1970 in a paper prepared for the United Nations Population Division (Easterlin 1970). A much fuller statement was presented in 1972 at the Princeton seminar whose proceedings comprise the present volume. The chapter constitutes almost a complete redrafting of that paper, presenting the analysis in more formal terms.

    A chapter with such a long history necessarily places the author in debt to so large a number of individuals that adequate acknowledgment is impossible. I can list here only a few from whose comments I have particularly...

  6. 3 Fertility Strategy for the Individual and the Group
    (pp. 135-154)

    The demography of preindustrial societies was a weighty factor in determining their welfare. It holds a special interest in the period immediately preceding the industrial revolution since the demographic posture of a society has an important bearing on its chances of breaking clear from the curbs upon sustained growth which gave preindustrial economies some of their most distinctive features (Wrigley 1969: ch. 4). But every major aspect of preindustrial demography was itself greatly influenced by social custom and economic circumstance so that there is difficulty in knowing how best to approach the set of relationships as a whole. In what...

  7. 4 Models of Preindustrial Population Dynamics with Application to England
    (pp. 155-208)

    Population size in itself was of no great importance to preindustrial societies, but in relation to resources it affected the productivity of labor on which depended material welfare; because of this, population control was essential.¹ However labor productivity could also vary independently of population size, under the influence of climate, technology, capital, and organization; and mortality could alter population size independently of labor productivity, under the influence of climate and disease. In the face of these dislocating disturbances, preindustrial societies developed institutions which, by regulating fertility and hence population, enabled them, imperfectly and within broad limits, to establish and protect...

  8. 5 Inheritance Systems, Family Structure, and Demographic Patterns in Western Europe, 1700–1900
    (pp. 209-224)

    The availability of land and the rules of inheritance that govern succession to it have been invoked time and again as primary factors in determining both the family structure and the demographic patterns of Western European peasant societies. It has been pointed out repeatedly that impartible inheritance and the integral transmission of the land prevents the creation of new households by maintaining a fixed number of openings on the land and therefore limits the number of marriages, encourages the emigration of children, and leads to slow population growth. Partible inheritance, on the other hand, results in fragmentation of the land...

  9. 6 A Multivariate Regression Analysis of Fertility Differentials Among Massachusetts Townships and Regions in 1860
    (pp. 225-256)

    An understanding of the determinants of fertility is essential to anyone interested in American social and economic history. The number of children born has a significant impact on the family as well as the society as a whole. Yet very little progress has been made by demographic historians in ascertaining and explaining fertility differentials. The few studies that have attempted to examine American fertility patterns historically are handicapped by methodological weaknesses that minimize their usefulness for analyzing fertility differentials.

    Most of the recent work in American historical demography has been concentrated on the colonial period. The lack of readily available...

  10. 7 Alone in Europe: The French Fertility Decline Until 1850
    (pp. 257-288)

    The causes of the fertility decline in Europe and its connections with the great economic and social transformation of modern times have been the subject of many debates. Nowhere has the question seemed more crucial than in France, while the decline was in progress. In the Western context at least, it is only now that the transformation of the reproductive behavior of man has become the subject of academic study rather than of moral and sociopolitical condemnation. With hindsight, and from the safe vantage point of the 1970s, it seems almost odd that the issue was once so charged with...

  11. 8 Protoindustrialization and Demographic Changes in the Canton of Zürich
    (pp. 289-334)

    Regional case studies in early industrialized European countries—for example in England, Germany, France, and Switzerland—indicate that it was by no means the technical and organizational changes of the factory system and the whole range of socioeconomic changes generally ascribed to the term “Industrial Revolution” which first brought a sustained and incisive population growth. Already in the period preceding the Industrial Revolution changes in generative patterns, family functions, family structures, and family cohesions together with a considerable population growth could be observed among those people who earned their living wholly or partially by cottage industry. These changes were so...

  12. 9 Questions and Conclusions
    (pp. 335-350)

    What changes a population’s fertility? What keeps it constant? We have not arrived at a simple reply, a single explanatory model, or even at a standard list of determinants. Yet the net effect of the explorations in this book is to narrow considerably the range of plausible explanations, as compared with those which are being seriously proposed today. That is true on the side of general explanations. As I read them, our chapters raise significant doubts concerning the whole range of arguments in which the diffusion of new contraceptive aspirations, techniques, and information is the major mechanism of fertility change....

  13. Contributors
    (pp. 351-354)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 355-380)
  15. Index
    (pp. 381-390)