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The fertility of the Irish in the United States in 1910

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

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • Guinnane, Timothy W. & Moehling, Carolyn M. & O Grada, Cormac, 2006. "The fertility of the Irish in the United States in 1910," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 465-485, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:43:y:2006:i:3:p:465-485
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul David & Thomas Mroz & Warren Sanderson & Kenneth Wachter & David Weir, 1988. "Cohort parity analysis: Statistical estimates of the extent of fertility control," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(2), pages 163-188, May.
    2. 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 123-158, January.
    3. 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.
    4. Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-333, March.
    5. Cormac Ó Gráda & Timothy Guinnane & Carolyn M. (Carolyn Marie) Moehling, 2001. "Fertility in South Dublin a century ago : first look," Working Papers 200126, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    6. O Grada, Cormac & Duffy, Niall, 1995. "Fertility Control Early in Marriage in Ireland a Century Ago," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 8(4), pages 423-431, November.
    7. Windmeijer, F A G & Silva, J M C Santos, 1997. "Endogeneity in Count Data Models: An Application to Demand for Health Care," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 281-294, May-June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alan Fernihough, 2011. "Human Capital and the Quantity-Quality Trade-Off during the Demographic Transition: New Evidence from Ireland," Working Papers 201113, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    2. Ronen Bar-El & Teresa García-Muñoz & Shoshana Neuman & Yossef Tobol, 2013. "The evolution of secularization: cultural transmission, religion and fertility—theory, simulations and evidence," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 1129-1174, July.
    3. Thomas N. Maloney & Heidi Hanson & Ken Smith, 2014. "Occupation and fertility on the frontier," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 30(29), pages 853-886, March.
    4. Neil Cummins, 2009. "Marital fertility and wealth in transition era France, 1750-1850," PSE Working Papers halshs-00566843, HAL.
    5. Neil Cummins, 2009. "Marital fertility and wealth in transition era France, 1750-1850," Working Papers halshs-00566843, HAL.
    6. repec:eee:ecanpo:v:58:y:2018:i:c:p:88-99 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Boustan, 2017. "Immigration in American Economic History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1311-1345, December.
    8. Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2011. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 157-179, February.
    9. Ljunge, Martin, 2014. "Trust issues: Evidence on the intergenerational trust transmission among children of immigrants," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 175-196.
    10. Kelly Ragan, 2012. "Sex and the Single Girl: The Role of Culture in Contraception Demand," 2012 Meeting Papers 846, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

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