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The Shaping of a Settler Fertility Transition: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century South African Demographic History Reconsidered

Listed author(s):
  • Jeanne Cilliers
  • Martine Mariotti
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    Using South African Families(SAF), a new database of settler genealogies, we provide for the first time, a description of female marital fertility in South Africa from 1700 to 1909. We find high and stable levels of fertility up to the mid-nineteenth century, typical of a pre-transition population, after which fertility declines. The usual correlates of a decline in fertility, namely, later starting and earlier stopping of childbearing, together with increased spacing between births, can be seen from the second half of the nineteenth century. The South African fertility transition mirrors to a large extent the pattern found in other settler communities, aswell as the European experience despite the somewhat different economic and social circumstances of the country, in particular relative to Europe.

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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/ceh/WP201708.pdf
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    Paper provided by Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEH Discussion Papers with number 08.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2017
    Handle: RePEc:auu:hpaper:059
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    1. Timothy W. Guinnane, 2011. "The Historical Fertility Transition: A Guide for Economists," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 589-614, September.
    2. Jeanne Cilliers & Johan Fourie, 2016. "Social mobility during South Africa’s industrial take-off," Working Papers 617, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    3. Johan Fourie & Robert Ross & Russel Viljoen, 2012. "Literacy at South African Mission Stations," Working Papers 284, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    4. John C. Caldwell, 1999. "The Delayed Western Fertility Decline: An Examination of English-Speaking Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(3), pages 479-513.
    5. Johan Fourie & Stefan Schirmer, 2012. "The Future of South African Economic History," Working Papers 06/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    6. Ron Lesthaeghe, 2010. "The Unfolding Story of the Second Demographic Transition," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 36(2), pages 211-251.
    7. Johan Fourie, 2013. "The remarkable wealth of the Dutch Cape Colony: measurements from eighteenth-century probate inventories," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 66(2), pages 419-448, May.
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