European Fertility Project
European Fertility Project
Introduction and Overview
The European Fertility Project had two objectives:
- To create a
quantitative record of the European fertility transition - the
decline of 50% or more in the number of children the average woman
bears. This profound demographic change, and the
social changes associated with it, occurred within the past two
centuries in almost all of the several hundred provinces of Europe, and
determine the social and economic circumstances that prevailed when the modern
decline in fertility began in the hope of elucidating the causal
mechanisms of the fertility transition.
To accomplish the two objectives, two sets of measures were
required, one to describe demographic characteristics (primarily
marriage and fertility) and one to describe social and economic
circumstances. The demographic measures had to be such that they
could be calculated easily using the often limited census and vital
resistration data available. To this end, a series of
was developed which compared the fertility experience of
the populations of the provinces of Europe to that of the
Hutterites, a religious community residing in the western United
States and Canada. The Hutterite
women had the highest recorded levels of natural fertility
known at that date.
The OPR archive contains the following data that is freely available to
- Standard demographic measures collected
for 1229 provinces and smaller districts in
Europe at various points in time from the late eighteenth century to
the mid twentieth century.
- Socioeconomic data collected for some of
the European countries
that were included in the project.
- The original Hutterite data used to
establish the standard fertility measures.
The Princeton University Press published eight books, including a
summary volume, in a series devoted to the Princeton European
Fertility Project. These are:
- Coale, Ansley J.; Watkins, Susan Cotts
[editors]. The Decline of Fertility in Europe: the Revised
Proceedings of a Conference on the Princeton European Fertility
Project. Princeton University Press, 1986.
- Coale, Ansley J.; Anderson, Barbara; Harm, Erna.
Human Fertility in Russia since the 19th Century. Princeton
University Press, 1979.
- Knodel, John E. The Decline of Fertility in
Germany, 1871-1939. Princeton University Press, 1974.
- Lesthaeghe, Ron J. The Decline of Belgian
Fertility, 1800-1970. Princeton University Press, 1977.
- Livi Bacci, Massimo. A Century of Portuguese
Fertility. Princeton University Press, 1971.
- Livi Bacci, Massimo. A History of Italian Fertility
during the Last Two Centuries.
- Teitelbaum, Michael S. The British Fertility
Decline: Demographic Transition in the Crucible of the Industrial
Revolution. Princeton University Press, 1984.
- Van der Walle The Female Population of
France in the Nineteenth Century Princeton University Press, 1974.
In addition, the following articles summarize results
for some of the other countries:
- Demeny, Paul. "Early Fertility Decline in Austria-Hungary: a
Lesson in Demographic Transition." In Population and Social
Change, D.V. Glass and R. Revelle (eds.) New York, Crane, Russak
and Co., Inc., 1972.
- Forrest, Jaqueline D. Fertility Decline in Austria,
1880-1910. Doctoral Dissertation, Princeton University,
- Livi Bacci, Massimo. "Fertility and Nuptiality Changes in Spain
from the Late XVIII to the Early XX Century." In Population
Studies, vol. 22, nos. 1 and 2. 1968.
- Matthiessen, Poul C. "Some Reflections on the Historical and
Recent Fertility Decline in Denmark". In Scandanavian Population
Studies, vol. 6, no. 2, 1984.
- Mosk, Carl. "Rural-Urban Differentials in Swedish Fertility
1880-1960." Working Paper no. 123, Dept. of Economics, University of
California at Berkeley. 1978.
- Siampos, George S. and Valaoras, Vas G. "Long-Term Fertility
Trends in Greece." Paper delivered at the International Population
Conference, London. 1969.
- Van der Walle, Francine. "Education and the Demographic
Transition in Switzerland." Population and Development
Review, vol. 6, no. 3. 1980.
If you have questions or comments about the data,
Archive Catalog Search
Data and Statistical Services
Princeton University's Data Library is maintained by Data and Statistical
Services (DSS), part of
Firestone Library's Social Science Reference Center, has extensive data
collection and offers statistical consulting.
Inter-university Consortium of Political and Social Research
If you can't find the data you need at Princeton, the next step is
the ICPSR Archive
at the University of Michigan.
Especially, the Data Sharing for Demographic Research project
provides resources to demographic data producers and users.