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The US Demographic Transition

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Abstract

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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  • Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri, 2002. "The US Demographic Transition," RCER Working Papers 487, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  • Handle: RePEc:roc:rocher:487
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    1. 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 431-452, May.
    2. Razin, Assaf & Ben-Zion, Uri, 1975. "An Intergenerational Model of Population Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 923-933, December.
    3. 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.
    4. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25.
    5. John Laitner, 2000. "Structural Change and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 545-561.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fertility; technological progress; agriculture; manufacturing;

    JEL classification:

    • E1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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