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The significance of looking back : fertility before the "fertility decline"

Die Bedeutung des Blicks zurück in die Geschichte : Fertilität vor dem "Geburtenrückgang"
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Ehmer, Josef

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Abstract In this paper, I argue that living with no or few children and low fertility was widespread in pre-industrial societies. After a critical discussion of demographic transition theory and the concept of 'natural fertility', I investigate fertility in early modern Europe. In doing so, I follow the suggestion of 'cultural demography' and combine quantitative and qualitative research. I show a great extent and many variations of deliberate birth control before the 'fertility decline' took place. This finding should help to see the actual level of fertility as less exceptional and dramatic than it is often claimed. Adapted from the source document.
Keywords fertility; twentieth century; birth trend; number of children; family planning; contemporary history; Europe; Japan; demographic factors; population development; paradigm change; cultural factors; pre-industrial society; industrial society; myth; reproduction; control; historical development; Far East; Asia
Classification Social History, Historical Social Research; Population Studies, Sociology of Population
Method empirical; qualitative empirical; quantitative empirical; historical; theory application
Free Keywords fertility decline; birth control; Demographic Transition Theory
Document language English
Publication Year 2011
Page/Pages p. 11-34
Journal Historical Social Research, 36 (2011) 2
Issue topic Fertilität in der Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts: Trends, Theorien, Politik, Diskurse / Fertility in the history of the 20th century: trends, theories, policies, discourses
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works