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Malthus to Modernity: England’s First Fertility Transition, 1760-1800

Gregory Clark () and Neil Cummins ()

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: English fertility history is generally regarded as having been composed of two re-gimes: an era of unregulated marital fertility, from at least 1540 to 1890, then the modern era, with regulated marital fertility, lower for higher social classes. We show there were in fact three fertility regimes in England: a Malthusian regime which lasted from at least 1500 until 1780, where fertility was substantially higher for the rich, an intermediate regime from 1780 to 1890 with fertility undifferentiated by class, and finally the modern regime. Wealthy English men produced substantially fewer children within a generation of the onset of the Industrial Revolution, over 100 years before the classic demographic transition. At the same time the fertility of the poor increased. Determining what triggered this change, however, and why it coincided with the Industrial Revolution, will require further research.

Keywords: Demographic; Transition; in; England (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 N3 J1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
Date: 2010-06-10
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Working Paper: Malthus to Modernity: England?s First Fertility Transition, 1760-1800 (2010) Downloads
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