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Family and Population in 19th Century America

Family and Population in 19th Century America

Tamara K. Hareven
Maris A. Vinovskis
Copyright Date: 1978
Pages: 265
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    Family and Population in 19th Century America
    Book Description:

    Representing new approaches to the study of the family and historical demography, this collection of essays analyzes the relationships of demographic processes in different population groups to household structure and family organization, and their implications for family behavior. Emphasizing dynamic rather than structural factors, the essays thus move beyond earlier studies of family history.

    Essays by the editors, Richard Easterlin, George Alter, Gretchen Condran, and Stanley Engerman focus on patterns of fertility in relation to urban and industrial development, economic opportunity and the availability of land, and race and ethnic origin. The remaining essays, by Laurence Glasco, Howard Chudacoff, and John Modell, deal with family organization over time as affected by such factors as the practice of boarding, the role of kin, family budgeting strategy, and migration.

    The authors not only challenge the prevailing assumption that rapid urbanization is responsible for the decline in the fertility rate; they also contend that, contrary to the prevailing theories of social change, the emergence of nuclear households was not a consequence of industrialization.

    Originally published in 1978.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6939-8
    Subjects: History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Series Preface (pp. vii-x)
    Richard A. Easterlin
  3. Table of Contents (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgments (pp. xiii-2)
    Tamara K. Hareven and Maris A. Vinovskis
  5. Introduction (pp. 3-21)

    The essays in this collection represent new approaches to the study of the family and historical demography.¹ In their effort to examine family processes, rather than simply to classify types of households and family structure, they approach the family from a demographic as well as structural perspective. Recent work in the history of the family in the nineteenth century has concentrated either on aggregate demographic analyses of fertility, nuptiality, and mortality or on the analysis of household structure at one point in time. These essays, on the other hand, analyze the relationships of demographic processes in different population groups to...

  6. 1 Farms and Farm Families in Old and New Areas: The Northern States in 1860 (pp. 22-84)

    This essay exploits a remarkably rich data set to compare demographic and economic conditions in old and new farming areas in the northern United States in 1860 and assesses the implications of these conditions for the causes of farm family fertility differences between these areas. The analysis centers on a sample comprising 11,492 farm households, and this essay presents the results of the initial analysis of this sample.

    Part I addresses such questions as the following. Are there relatively more husband-wife households on the frontier? What is the sex and age distribution of the population? Are young frontier women more...

  7. 2 Patterns of Childbearing in Late Nineteenth-Century America: The Determinants of Marital Fertility in Five Massachusetts Towns in 1880 (pp. 85-125)

    Childbearing information has not been studied in its relationship to family life in the past by most scholars. On the one hand, demographic historians’ fertility studies have generally been based on aggregate data on state, county, or township levels; as a result, they shed no light on fertility at the household level or on the interaction of familial and community factors in determining fertility in nineteenth-century America.¹ Historians of the family, on the other hand, have generally neglected the analysis of fertility altogether. In recent years, a number of social historians have investigated population patterns in individual communities, using the...

  8. 3 Changes in Black Fertility, 1880-1940 (pp. 126-153)

    Considerable attention has been paid by historians and demographers to the fertility behavior of blacks in the United States. Most attention, however, has been accorded either to the years of chattel slavery, which terminated during the Civil War, or to the post-World War II years. The first of these periods has been of interest because of the very high rates of population growth among the enslaved between 1620 and 1860. These uniquely high growth rates for a slave population have generated questions concerning the causes of the differentials in behavior between the North American and other New World slave populations,...

  9. 4 Migration and Adjustment in the Nineteenth-Century City: Occupation, Property, and Household Structure of Native-born Whites, Buffalo, New York, 1855 (pp. 154-178)

    Due to a number of recent investigations, we now know much more about the significance of migration in American history than we did previously. Particularly for the period from 1870 to 1950 the multivolume work of Kuznets and others has shown the interconnections between population redistribution and national economic growth.¹ For the earlier period we have no study of comparable scope, but Peter Knights’s recent study of antebellum Boston has opened up further investigations of population mobility in pre-Civil War America. With detailed statistics on the staggering volume of moves by “the plain people of Boston”—perhaps half the city’s...

  10. 5 Newlyweds and Family Extension: The First Stage of the Family Cycle in Providence, Rhode Island, 1864-1865 and 1879-1880 (pp. 179-205)

    In Providence, Rhode Island, in April of 1864 Patrick Turbit, a 29-year-old laborer born in Ireland, married Catherine Walls, age 27, also from Ireland. A Catholic priest performed the ceremony. That same month, John Thatcher, age 21, a gunsmith from Providence, wed Lucy Stalker, age 22, from Warwick, a small town south of Providence. The couple said their vows in a Unitarian church. And on the same day, William Shaw and Almira Davis were joined together in wedlock by a justice of the peace. William was a 26-year-old machinist from Chatham, Massachusetts; Almira was 21 and a native of Providence....

  11. 6 Patterns of Consumption, Acculturation, and Family Income Strategies in Late Nineteenth-Century America (pp. 206-240)

    Inherent in current American conceptions of competence is a sense of proper relative allocation of family resources to such realms as necessities, luxuries, leisure, and investments in the mobility of the next generation. Substantial deviations from the norm are explained either by poverty and ignorance or by condemnably deviant tastes.

    The verbal formulation of these norms, and their diffusion, was a part of the Progressive reformers’ reconciliation of voluntarism and the risks of life in industrial society around the early part of the twentieth century.¹ Behavioral acceptance of such norms involved a series of family decisions by the working people...

  12. Contributors (pp. 241-242)
  13. Index (pp. 243-250)
  14. Back Matter (pp. 251-251)