Understanding the onset of the fall of fertility in Europe requires understanding of changes in mortality as it is understood that "the beginning of mortality decline generally precedes that of fertility". The 'demographic transition' saw the average number of births per women fall from around five to less than two in a relatively short period. The "demographic transition model" suggests reduced mortality preceding changes in fertility resulting in a small period when the natural population growth rate is at its pre-eminence. After this point the fertility rate drops and the national rate of population growth returns to similar pre mortality fall level. This theory implies the onset of the fall of fertility was preceded by a fall in mortality. Was this fall related to economic and social circumstances of individual countries? Social factors do not impact falls in mortality as much as falls in fertility. However economic factors did largely affect the mortality rate in Europe.
[...] The Chicago school of thought develops on this idea that the onset of the fall of fertility was based on economic circumstances surrounding the cost of children. Children's costs went up and children are considered a time intensive good whose relative cost vs. consumer goods went drastically up with women employment, education and health costs. However this argument lacks depth as education improvements and increase participation by women in the workplace came after the beginning of the demographic transition. The cost factor of children was somewhat already entrenched into European thinking in terms of fertility. [...]
[...] By contrasting some of the demographic patterns of the pre-industrial period with the era of the demographic transition, this paper attempted to demonstrate that the fall of fertility in Europe was indeed related to the economic and social circumstances. In the pre-industrial era, demographics were driven, as many scholars would argue, by the Malthusian Model when fertility was controlled to maintain sufficient living conditions and to avoid resources depletion. After the Industrial Revolution, fertility was also controlled, but more voluntarily and rationally. [...]
[...] As Livi-Bacci (2001, p. 110) points out, while the level of fertility control via nuptiality was considerable in the pre-transition (i.e. pre-industrial) period, it was not sufficient to regulate the fertility during the transition (i.e. industrial) period. In other words, getting married late or staying single for the whole reproductive period was no longer enough to derive such low fertility rates. Rather, the traditional system of fertility regulation via marriage patterns was substituted by the use of contraception (ibid. p. [...]
[...] Thus the aim of this paper is to provide the answer whether the onset of the fall of fertility in Europe was related to the economic and social circumstances of the individual countries at the time or not. To follow the aim, the paper will contrast the demographic situations before and after the demographic transition. This approach is used because fertility patterns were different and so were the economic conditions during the two respective periods. However, before this paper will elaborate on the question whether the significant decline in fertility rates in Europe was due to the economic and social patterns, it should be explained what is meant by economic and social patterns at first. [...]
[...] Can the onset of the fall of fertility in Europe be related to the economic and social circumstances of the individual countries at the time? Understanding the onset of the fall of fertility in Europe requires understanding of changes in mortality as it is understood that "the beginning of mortality decline generally precedes that of fertility". The 'demographic transition' saw the average number of births per women fall from around five to less than two in a relatively short period. [...]
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