Breschi, Marco and Manfredini, Matteo and Mazzoni, Stanislao and Pozzi, Lucia (2009) Fertility and socio-cultural determinants at the beginning of demographic transition: Sardinia, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In: Manfredini, Matteo and Fornasin, Alessio Fertility in Italy at the turn of the Twentieth Century, Udine, Forum. p. 63-78. ISBN 9788884206039. Book Section.
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The present paper is the first to our knowledge that makes use of individual level data for a community of Southern Italy, Alghero, a town of about 10,000 inhabitants situated on the North-western coast of Sardinia, a region whose demographic history has never been approached by means of nominative studies. As described in the next sections, the complex and detailed linkage of nominative information has been just finished, but it still needs some revision and data cleaning. For this reason, the present analysis is focused on the fertility of the marriage cohorts 1866-85 reconstructed on individual bases and investigated by means of micro-analytical techniques. Those couples married in a very peculiar phase of Italian history. In those years, in fact, it emerged a strong contraposition on marriage between the Church and the State. In 1866, the State introduced the new law on civil marriage, which in turn determined the legal invalidity of religious marriages. For the new Italian Kingdom, the sole legal marriage was the one celebrated before a civil official. This contrast between the Church and the State lasted until 1929, with consequences that make impossible any direct approach to the study of marital fertility based on official statistics (Livi Bacci 1977). In the present work, the nature and type of marriage has been precisely used, along with other socio-cultural variables, such as profession and literacy level, to explain the pattern of reproductive behavior of the couples of Alghero in the very first stages of demographic transition.
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