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The Fertility of the Irish in America in 1910

Author

Listed:
  • Timothy Guinnane

    () (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Carolyn Moehling

    () (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

  • Cormac O Grada

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 Ireland's late entry to the fertility transition 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 1910 and produces three main findings. First, the Irish in America had smaller families than both the rural and urban Irish and their fertility patterns show clear evidence of fertility control. Second, despite the evidence of control, Irish-Americans continued to have large families, much larger, in fact, than the U.S. native-born population. The fertility differential between these populations was not due to differences in other population characteristics. Rather it was due to the fact that conditional on characteristics, Irish-Americans chose to have larger families. Third, the differential fertility patterns of Irish-Americans were not just due to the effects of being immigrants. Germans and English immigrants also had higher fertility than the native-born population, but to a much larger extent than for the Irish, this higher fertility could be explained by the population characteristics of these groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Guinnane & Carolyn Moehling & Cormac O Grada, 2002. "The Fertility of the Irish in America in 1910," Working Papers 848, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:848
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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp848.pdf
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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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2005. "The Roots of Low European Employment: Family Culture?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2005, pages 65-109 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alison L. Booth & Hiau Joo Kee, 2009. "Intergenerational Transmission of Fertility Patterns," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(2), pages 183-208, April.
    3. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8813 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2007. "Social Attitudes and Economic Development : an Epidemiological Approach," Working Papers hal-01066088, HAL.
    5. Adsera, Alicia & Ferrer, Ana, 2011. "Age at Migration, Language and Fertility Patterns among Migrants to Canada," IZA Discussion Papers 5552, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Pierre Cahuc & Yann Algan, 2007. "Social Attitudes and Macroeconomic Performance:," 2007 Meeting Papers 414, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8808 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Eschelbach Martina, 2015. "Family Culture and Fertility Outcomes – Evidence from American Siblings," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 235(3), pages 246-267, June.
    9. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8810 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8814 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0607-x is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ireland; United States; Fertility; Demography; Immigration;

    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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