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The U.S. Demographic Transition

  • Jeremy Greenwood
  • Ananth Seshadri

Between 1800 and 1940 the U.S. went through a dramatic demographic transition. In 1800 the average woman had 7 children, and 94 percent of the population lived in rural areas. By 1940 the average woman birthed just 2 kids, and only 43 percent of populace lived in the country. The question is: What accounted for this shift in the demographic landscape? The answer given here is that technological progress in agriculture and manufacturing explains these facts.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/000282802320189168
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 92 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 153-159

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:92:y:2002:i:2:p:153-159
Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282802320189168
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  1. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1986. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," NBER Working Papers 1793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
  3. Laitner, John, 2000. "Structural Change and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 545-61, July.
  4. Echevarria, Cristina, 1997. "Changes in Sectoral Composition Associated with Economic Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(2), pages 431-52, May.
  5. Razin, Assaf & Ben-Zion, Uri, 1975. "An Intergenerational Model of Population Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 923-33, December.
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