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The fertility of the Irish in the United States in 1910

  • Guinnane, Timothy W.
  • Moehling, Carolyn M.
  • O Grada, Cormac

In most western societies, marital fertility began to decline in the nineteenth century. But in Ireland, fertility in marriage remained stubbornly high into the twentieth century. Explanations of this focus on the influence of the Roman Catholic Church in Irish society. These arguments are often backed up by claims that the Irish outside of Ireland behaved the same way. This paper investigates these claims by examining the marital fertility of Irish Americans in 1900 and 1910. We find that Irish fertility patterns did not survive the Atlantic crossing. The Irish in America had smaller families than couples in both rural and urban Ireland. But Irish immigrants still had large families relative to the native-born population in the U.S. This higher marital fertility of Irish immigrants cannot be attributed to differences in other population characteristics. Conditional on observable characteristics, Irish immigrants had larger families.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 43 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 465-485

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:43:y:2006:i:3:p:465-485
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830

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  1. Benefo, Kofi & Schultz, T Paul, 1996. "Fertility and Child Mortality in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(1), pages 123-58, January.
  2. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
  3. Timothy Guinnane & Carolyn Moehling & Cormac O Grada, 2001. "Fertility in South Dublin a Century Ago: A First Look," Working Papers 838, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  4. Timothy W Guinnane & Carolyn Moehling & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2001. "Fertility in South Dublin a Century ago - A First Look," Working Papers 200126, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  5. Frank Windmeijer & Joao Santos Silva, 1996. "Endogeneity in count data models; an application to demand for health care," IFS Working Papers W96/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. O Grada, Cormac & Duffy, Niall, 1995. "Fertility Control Early in Marriage in Ireland a Century Ago," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 423-31, November.
  7. Haines, Michael R., 1980. "Fertility and Marriage in a Nineteenth-Century Industrial City: Philadelphia, 1850–1880," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(01), pages 151-158, March.
  8. Paul David & Thomas Mroz & Warren Sanderson & Kenneth Wachter & David Weir, 1988. "Cohort parity analysis: Statistical estimates of the extent of fertility control," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 163-188, May.
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