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Socioeconomic differences in the early stages of the fertility decline: a micro level study of southern Sweden

Tommy Bengtsson, Lund University
Martin Dribe, Lund University

Most previous research on the fertility transition has been based on aggregate data and analyzed the demographic, socioeconomic and cultural determinants of the decline, without being able to distinguish the mechanisms at the micro level. The almost complete focus on the aggregate level has also meant that we to a large extent lack knowledge about the socioeconomic pattern of the decline. In this paper we explore socioeconomic differences in an industrializing community of southern Sweden. We look at the development over time in fertility differentials between various socioeconomic groups, both in the agrarian sector and in the burgeoning industrial sector. We use data from the Scanian Demographic Database that contains micro level demographic and socioeconomic data for the period from the 18th century until the 1930s. We study the period 1850-1935 which encompasses the entire fertility transition in Sweden, and which is also a period of substantial economic transformation.

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Presented in Session 158: New perspectives on the historical fertility transition