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The Influence of Economic Conditions on the Fertility of Peasant Women

W. Stys
Population Studies
Vol. 11, No. 2 (Nov., 1957), pp. 136-148
DOI: 10.2307/2172109
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2172109
Page Count: 13
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The Influence of Economic Conditions on the Fertility of Peasant Women
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Abstract

In this paper, which is based on an enquiry carried out in twenty villages in Southern Poland, the author investigates the fertility of two consecutive generations of peasant women. He shows that the richer the couple are, the more children they have. This is due to the earlier marriage of wealthier peasant girls, who thus begin to bear children sooner, and also bear them more frequently and for a longer period. This trend was very noticeable in the earlier generation, but shows signs of weakening in the present generation because of the spread of birth control which was first accepted among the richer peasants. Rich peasant couples not only produce more children, but a greater proportion of their children remain in agriculture. Larger peasant farms are thus subdivided more quickly than smaller ones, and a low standard of living results.

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