Fertility transition in a rural, Catholic population: Bavaria, 1880-1910

Popul Stud (Camb). 2002 Mar;56(1):35-49. doi: 10.1080/00324720213799.


The decline of human fertility that occurred in Europe and North America in the nineteenth century, and elsewhere in the twentieth, remains a topic of debate largely because there is no accepted explanation for the event. This paper uses district-level data from Bavaria to study the correlates of the decline of fertility in that German kingdom in the nineteenth century. Bavaria's fertility transition was later and less dramatic than in other parts of Germany. Our results for Bavaria indicate that the European Fertility Project was right about the role of religion and secularization, but missed an important role for the economic and structural effects stressed by economic historians.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Catholicism / history*
  • Fertility*
  • Germany
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Rural Population / history*