Malthus to Modernity: England’s First Fertility Transition, 1760-1800

45 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2010

See all articles by Gregory Clark

Gregory Clark

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Neil Cummins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economic History

Date Written: July 5, 2010

Abstract

English fertility history is generally regarded as having been composed of two regimes: an era of unregulated marital fertility, from at least 1540 to 1890, then the modern era, with regulated marital fertility, lower for higher social classes. We show there were in fact three fertility regimes in England: a Malthusian regime which lasted from at least 1500 until 1780, where fertility was substantially higher for the rich, an intermediate regime from 1780 to 1890 with fertility undifferentiated by class, and finally the modern regime. Wealthy English men produced substantially fewer children within a generation of the onset of the Industrial Revolution, over 100 years before the classic demographic transition. At the same time the fertility of the poor increased. Determining what triggered this change, however, and why it coincided with the Industrial Revolution, will require further research.

Keywords: Fertility Transition, Industrial Revolution

JEL Classification: J11, J13

Suggested Citation

Clark, Gregory and Cummins, Neil, Malthus to Modernity: England’s First Fertility Transition, 1760-1800 (July 5, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1635030 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1635030

Gregory Clark (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

Neil Cummins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economic History ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.neilcummins.com

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