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Period Fertility Measures: Reflective Commentaries

Gerard Calot, Jean-Paul Sardon, Guy Desplanques, Nico Keilman, Maire Ni Bhrolchain, Patrick Festy, Jean-Louis Rallu and Laurent Toulemon
Population: An English Selection
Vol. 6 (1994), pp. 95-130
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2949145
Page Count: 36
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Period Fertility Measures: Reflective Commentaries
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Abstract

Demographic analysis was for a long time restricted to the measures which could be derived directly from annual statistics. Even the retrospective information contained in population censuses (children already born, proportions single) was neglected. The possibility of constructing cohort measures, and the simplicity of such indicators, did not emerge until the post-war years. The primacy given to these summaries of cohort lifetimes then resulted in a preference for those period measures which fit in best with the longitudinal approach. Rates calculated like age-specific fertility rates and summed cross-sectionally were preferred, since it was shown that they reflected changes over time in both the quantum and the tempo of cohort fertility. Jean-Louis Rallu and Laurent Toulemon (JLR and LT) have, on the contrary, taken the stand that period measures should be as free as possible of the influence of the cohorts' past, and have investigated alternative period fertility constructs. We solicited the reactions of a number of colleagues to various points they raise. Their remarks are published here, followed by the authors' reply.

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