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A History of Italian Fertility During the Last Two Centuries

A History of Italian Fertility During the Last Two Centuries

Copyright Date: 1977
Pages: 336
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    A History of Italian Fertility During the Last Two Centuries
    Book Description:

    Profound changes have occurred in the demography and sociology of Italian fertility since Napoleonic times. Using the statistical system instituted in 1861 with national unification, Massimo Livi-Bacci provides a systematic and detailed analysis of fertility trends in Italy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He brings to light the main features of the secular decline: its rapid occurrence in the northern and central areas; the widening urban-rural gap; the shaping of social and economic differences; and the late, slow downward trend in the South.

    Multivariate statistical analysis enables the author to measure the changing relationship between fertility and social or economic phenomena. Historical evidence illustrates the effect on fertility of mass emigration and Fascist policy as well as of social changes such as those in agrarian structure, mobility, and communications.

    An altered attitude toward procreation is evident in some parts of Italy in the early nineteenth century. The decline becomes apparent in certain northern and central regions in the 1870s and 1880s and it appears at the aggregate national level in the 1890s.

    Originally published in 1977.

    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: 978-1-4008-7012-7
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

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

    About ten years ago Massimo Livi-Bacci committed part of his time and energy to collaboration in an ambitious demographic research project centered at the Office of Population Research in Princeton. The purpose of this project is to document and analyze the extensive reduction in human fertility that has been experienced in the past century or so in virtually every large geographic subdivision of every country in Europe. Although the occurrence of a decline has been practically universal, the time of its initiation and the pace at which it developed has been quite varied—birth rates were falling as early as...

  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    Massimo Livi-Bacci
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. List of Tables
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  6. List of Maps and Figures
    (pp. xxi-2)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 3-6)

    This book deals with demographic change in Italy during the last two centuries, or, more precisely, with a particular aspect of demographic change: the decline of fertility.

    Approximately 150 million Italian children were born between the beginning of the nineteenth century and 1961, the year that marked the centennial of Italian independence and unification. During this time span the demographic behavior of the Italian population, as of all European populations, radically changed. Women, once inexorably destined for marriage, frequent childbirth, and early onset of old age, have been freed from the tyranny of biological events. At the same time, death...

  8. Chapter 1: From Napoleonic Times to National Unification
    (pp. 7-48)

    The modern demographic history of the Italian state cannot begin before 1861, which was both the date of national unification and the year of the first national census. In the ensuing years, a methodical and continuous collection of vital statistics also started in the several thousand comuni that form the smallest administrative units of the country.

    Before 1861, however, there is much of demographic interest: some of the events before 1861 have a direct bearing on Italy’s demographic circumstances in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Although fertility only began to fall in Italy as a whole at the...

  9. Chapter 2: Regional Development of Fertility since Unification: 1861-1971
    (pp. 49-109)

    Although this monograph is primarily concerned with fertility, an outline of other demographic components of population change after national unification provides a useful background.¹ The smooth and parallel transition of fertility and mortality from high to low levels protected the country from sudden accelerations and decelerations in the rate of population increase. In this respect, Italy resembles other Mediterranean countries, such as Spain, more than the countries of Northern and Central Europe. However, the smoothness of the transition on the national level hides profound regional differentials. These differentials were mainly due to fertility trends, and it is these trends that...

  10. Chapter 3: Urban-Rural Residence and the Decline in Fertility
    (pp. 110-134)

    Residence in an urban environment is generally believed to be a factor in the decline of fertility. It is assumed that patterns of neo-Malthusian behavior are more easily developed in urban populations, where social and territorial mobility are greater and the standard of living and degree of education are generally higher than in other sectors of the population.

    The validity of this hypothesis is, at least in part, supported by the analysis of the available statistical evidence concerning urban-rural differentials in Italy during the first part of the nineteenth century. Although the measures employed are rather gross owing to the...

  11. Chapter 4: The Geography of Fertility and Nuptiality Changes
    (pp. 135-188)

    This chapter is dedicated to the analysis of the association of fertility and nuptiality trends with the geographic characteristics of the country. Some introductory remarks are necessary to clarify our aims. In Chapters 2 and 3, the long-term trends in nuptiality and fertility were examined for the 18 regions retained in our analysis. A detailed and, as far as possible, varied battery of indicators was used in the analysis, providing a suitable frame for the interpretation of nuptiality and fertility changes during the last century. However, the average size of the regions, ranging from less than 1.5 million inhabitants in...

  12. Chapter 5: Factors Involved in Italy’s Fertility Decline
    (pp. 189-215)

    In our monograph on Portugal, we encountered the many difficulties social scientists face in dealing with the determinants of a complex phenomenon such as the secular decline of fertility.¹ The difficulties are certainly not less in Italy, where the object of the analysis is the fall of fertility in the 90 or so provinces of the country, or, in other words, the differential experience of the populations of the various provinces in exercising control of their marital fertility. The questions to be answered are essentially two. The first asks why provincial populations show different levels of fertility at certain dates...

  13. Chapter 6: Differential Fertility as a Key to the Interpretation of Fertility Decline
    (pp. 216-248)

    This chapter will deal with differential fertility as it results from the differential behavior of various sectors of the population. The same problem has already been discussed in connection with urban-rural fertility, the analysis of geographical trends, and the factors influencing fertility decline. But the definition of the sectors of the population whose fertility was measured and compared was based on geographic criteria. We have analyzed the fertility of the “mainly rural” areas; we have studied the fertility of regions, provinces, and circondari, or, in other words, the fertility of populations defined by administrative boundaries and not by their individual...

  14. Chapter 7: Some Fertility Determinants: Biological Factors, Family Structure, and Selected Characteristics of Italian Society
    (pp. 249-283)

    “The life of the peasant can be quickly described. In the first months of his infancy, swaddled in such a way as to risk suffocation, he is abandoned to the custody of some child a few years older, until the time when, able to move about without help, he romps in the dust and mud of the farmyard with his playmates.

    “Still at a tender age, he is sent to the communal school in the winter and begins to work during the summer, when, as a first task, he is required to watch after the ducks and the pigs, and,...

  15. Conclusion
    (pp. 284-290)

    The broad picture of the decline of fertility in Italy that took place during the last century conforms well to the classic pattern in which birth rates fall when modernization occurs. The decline represented primarily a change in marital fertility. Once started, it proved irreversible. The movement to lower fertility was led by the well-to-do, the better educated, and the residents of the cities; the poor, the illiterate, and the rural population trailed in the reduction of childbearing. In our conclusion, we shall review predecline fertility in Italy, possible deviations from a more general model, aspects of the decline that...

  16. Appendix A
    (pp. 291-297)
  17. Appendix B
    (pp. 298-300)
  18. Appendix C
    (pp. 301-302)
  19. Official Statistical Sources
    (pp. 303-304)
  20. Index
    (pp. 305-311)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 312-312)