Demographic Behavior in the Past

A Study of Fourteen German Village Populations in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Demographic Behavior in the Past

This book provides a detailed examination of the demographic behavior of families during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in a sample of fourteen villages in five different regions of Germany. It is based on the reconstituted family histories of vital events (births, deaths and marriages) compiled by genealogies for the entire populations of these villages. The book applies the type of micro-level analysis possible with family reconstitution data for the crucial period leading to and encompassing the early stages of the demographic transition, including the initial onset of the decline of fertility to low modern levels. The analysis explores many aspects of demographic behavior which have been largely ignored by previous macro-level investigations of the demographic transition. These include infant and child mortality, maternal mortality, marriage, marital dissolution, bridal pregnancy and illegitimacy. The core of the study, however, deals with marital reproduction, examining the modernization of reproductive behavior in terms of the transition from a situation of natural fertility to one characterized by pervasive family limitation.

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