Breschi, Marco and Fornasin, Alessio and Pozzi, Lucia and Rettaroli, Rosella and Scalone, Francesco (2009) The Onset of fertility transition in Italy, 1800-1900. In: Manfredini, Matteo and Fornasin, Alessio Fertility in Italy at the turn of the Twentieth Century, Udine, Forum. p. 11-29. ISBN 9788884206039. Book Section.
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This paper constitutes one of the first steps of a research project on the evolution of reproductive behaviour analyzed at the individual and household level. The core of the project is a re-examination of the theory of the demographic
transition in Italy from the last decades of the nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.
This paper presents the first comparative results over a period spanning from 1820 to the end of the nineteenth century, and it is focused on the reproductive behaviour of married women in their own families. In this period, the elements of
the subsequent fertility transition can be barely detected at a general level, however it is possible to create a clear picture of the existing differentials in fertility outcomes in a period in which important social and economic transformations were taking place. In fact, we e consider it extremely useful to better highlight the levels of fertility which were found in many different geographical settings of Italy before the onset of the fertility transition. This issue is of great importance to our understanding of not only fertility behaviour before the transition but also of the fertility decline as such. Geographical differentials, such as those related to different social groups with varying socio economic status, diffusion of urban habits and domestic economies, were the basic elements on which the demographic transition would take place.
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