A poverty trap. Fertility control due to short-term economic stress in rural Aragón (Spain) 1801-1975

Francisco José Marco-Gracia, Universidad de Zaragoza

This article deals with the existence of deliberate fertility control due to short-term economic stress among socioeconomic status groups. We take two periods: the first before the demographic transition (from 1801 to 1909) and the second from 1910 to the end of the Franco´s dictatorship, 1975. We focus on whether the same groups remained as vulnerable to short-term economic shocks despite the economic growth per capita experienced during the study´s periods and the changes in demographic patterns. Our micro-level analysis is composed by birth histories from ten Spanish villages. The father´s socioeconomic level is regarded as an indicator of family´s socioeconomic status. The results show a negative fertility response among all agrarian groups during both periods, especially strong among landless or semilandless. The existence of such a rapid fertility control response suggests that deliberate fertility control was a voluntary decision.

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Presented in Poster Session 3