Core Readings


Homework Assignments


Essay Assignments


Supplemental Readings


Useful websites




Department of History

History 3797

History of Population

Spring 2009

Steven Ruggles

945 Heller Hall

Office Hours:

Tuesday-Thursday after class


Teaching Assistant: Heather Hawkins

Office Hours: Monday 12:30-1:30 and by appointment.


Email for turning in assignments:


(Click on the figure to enlarge)





This course provides an introduction to population history through critical analysis of controversial debates in the field. The schedule identifies three types of class meetings:


        Lectures, generally on Tuesdays, will cover the substantive history of population.

        Sources and Methods, on most Thursdays, will provide a basic introduction to the methods and materials of historical demography.

        Hands on lab exercises, approximately every third Thursday, will give you the experience of doing population history research.


The lab sessions will take place in room 150 Anderson Hall, which has a limited number of workstations. To accommodate everyone, we will divide into groups, and meet for just 30 minutes with each group.


It is essential that you attend every class; attendance will be taken, and will count for 30% of your grade.



Required readings are listed below. All readings are available online at no cost. The hyperlinks following each article will get you the pdf if you are logged in on campus. If you want to get access from home, you will have to either save the article while on campus or authenticate through the library website and search for the journal or use the citation linker.


I have assigned 2-3 articles a week, averaging fewer than 50 pages. It is strongly recommended that you do the readings before the lecture to which they apply. In addition to the core readings, there are supplemental readings that will be needed for particular assignments.


Written Assignments

The written assignments consist of:


        Two essays of 750 words each, due March 24 and May 7 (15% of grade each)

        Five homework assignments (10% of grade)

        A mid-term exam on March 12 (15% of grade)

        A final exam on May 12 (15% of grade)





Click on week for required readings


Week 1.

January 20. Introduction (very brief to allow time to watch the inauguration).

January 22. Lecture: The Agricultural Revolution and demographic theory


Week 2.

January 27. Guest Lecture: Robert McCaa on Paleodemography

January 29. Hands-on lab exercise 1: Online tabulation of census microdata.

(Note: lab exercises are in Anderson 150)


Week 3.

February 3. Lecture: Black Death and crisis mortality.

Homework #1 due.

February 5. Methods and Sources: Age composition; Principles of Demographic Measurement; Life course, Period, and Cohort


Week 4.

February 10. Lecture: Pre-Columbian population and demographic collapse in the Americas

February 12. Hands-on lab exercise 2: Introduction to analysis in Excel.


Week 5.

February 17. Guest Lecture: Robert McCaa on Aztec Families.

Homework #2 due

February 19. Sources and Methods: Fertility measures: crude rates; age-specific rates; total fertility rate; sources for quantitative history

Week 6.

February 24. Lecture: Northwest European Family System

February 26. Hands-on lab exercise 3: Synthetic cohort measures


Week 7.

March 3. Guest Lecture: Christopher Isett on The Early Modern Chinese Demographic System

Homework #3 due

March 5. Sources and Methods: The life table (spreadsheet)


Week 8.

March 10. Sources and Methods: Sources for quantitative historical analysis

March 12. Mid-term exam




Week 9.

March 24. Lecture: Demography of Slavery and the Slave Trade

March 26. Hands-on lab exercise 4: The Life Table

Essay #1 due


Week 10.

March 31. The ‘Population Revolution’ in 18th century England

April 2. Sources and Methods: Life Table do-over

(in 150 Anderson: Group A Only)


Week 11.

April 7. Limitations of Family Reconstitution

April 9. Hands-on lab exercise 5: Making maps in Social Explorer


Week 12.

April 14. Lecture: Demographic Transition and the Baby Boom

Homework #4 due

April 19. Sources and Methods: Standardization and Indexes


Week 13.

April 21. Guest Lecture: Robert McCaa on The Fertility Transition in Developing Countries

April 23. Hands-on lab exercise 6: Standardization exercise Spreadsheet


Week 14.

April 28. Lecture: African-American Family Patterns

April 30. Class cancelled.


Week 15.

May 5. Lecture: The Rise of Divorce and Cohabitation and the Decline of Marriage

May 7. Study session for final.

Essay #2 due


Final exam: May 12




Core Readings


Week 1: Agricultural Revolution

Jared Diamond. 2002. “Evolution, Consequences, and Future of Plant and Animal Domestication.” Nature 418: 700-707.


George J. Armelogos, Alan H. Goodman, and Kenneth H. Jacobs. 1991. “The Origins of Agriculture: Population Growth During a Period of Declining Health.” Population and Environment 13:9-22.


John C. Caldwell and Bruce K. Caldwell. 2003. “Was there a Neolithic Mortality Crisis?” Journal of Population Research 20: 153-168.



Week 2: Paleodemography

Robert McCaa. 2002. “Paleodemography of the Americas: From Ancient Times to Colonialism and Beyond,” in The backbone of history: Health and nutrition in the Western Hemisphere.

Edited by R. H. Steckel and J. C. Rose, pp. 94–126.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.






Week 3: Black Death

Samuel K. Cohn. 2002. “The Black Death: End of a Paradigm.” American Historical Review 107: 703-738.


John Theilman and Frances Cate. 2007. “A Plague of Plagues: The Problem of Plague Diagnosis in Medieval England.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 37: 371-393.



Week 4: Pre-Colombian Population

Henry F. Dobyns. 1966. “An Appraisal of Techniques with a New Hemispheric Estimate.” Current Anthropology 7: 395-416.


Massimo Livi-Bacci. 2006. “The Depopulation of Hispanic America after the Conquest.” Population and Development Review 32: 199-232.


David  Henige. 2008. “Recent Work and Prospects in American Indian Contact Population.” History Compass 6: 183-206.



Week 5: Aztec Families

Robert McCaa. 2003. “The Nahua Calli of Ancient Mexico: Household, Family, and Gender.” Continuity and Change 18: 23-48

(click on pdf, right-hand menu bar)


E.A. Hammel and Petrer Laslett. 1974. “Comparing Household Structure Over Time and Between Cultures.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 16: 73-109.



Week 6: Northwest European Family System

Lutz K. Berkner. 1972. “The Stem Family and the Developmental Cycle of the Peasant Household: An Eighteenth-Century Austrian Example.” The American Historical Review, Vol. 77, No. 2. (Apr., 1972), pp. 398-418.


Steven Ruggles. 2009. “Reconsidering the Northwest European Family System.” Working Paper.



Week 7. Malthusian Theory in  Early Modern China

James Lee and Wang Feng, “Malthusian models and Chinese Realities: The Chinese Demographic System: 1700-2000,” Population and Development Review 25, 1 (1999), 33-65.


Arthur P. Wolf and Theo Engelen. 2008. “Fertility and Fertility Control in Pre-Revolutionary China.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 38: 345-375.



Week 8. Family Reconsititution

E. A. Wrigley. 1997. “How Reliable is Our Knowledge of the Demographic Characteristics of the English Population in the Early Modern Period?”

The Historical Journal  40: 571-595.


Steven Ruggles. 1999. “The Limitations of English Family Reconstitution.” Continuity and Change 14: 105-130.

(click on pdf, right-hand menu bar)



Week 9. Demography of Slavery and the Slave Trade

David Eltis. 2001. “The Volume and Structure of the Transatlantic Slave Trade: A Reassessment.” William and Mary Quarterly 58.1


Michael Tadman. 2000. “The Demographic Cost of Sugar: Debates on Slave Societies and Natural Increase in the Americas.” American Historical Review 105: 1534-1575



Week 10. The Population Revolution in England

Emily Grundy. 2005. “The McKeown Debate: Time for Burial.” International Journal of Epidemiology 34: 529-533


Bernard Harris. 2004. “Public Health, Nutrition, and the Decline of Mortality: The McKeown Thesis Revisited.” Social History of Medicine 17: 379-407.



Week 11. The Demographic Transition in Europe and America

Dudley Kirk. 1996. “Demographic Transition Theory.” Population Studies 50: 361-387.


J. David Hacker. 2003. “Rethinking the ‘Early’ Decline of Marital Fertility in the United States.” Demography 40: 605-620.



Week 12.  The Baby Boom

Fred C. Pampel; H. Elizabeth Peters. 1995. “The Easterlin Effect.” Annual Review of Sociology, 21:. 163-194.


Richard A. Easterlin. 1978. “Presidential Address: What Will 1984 Be Like? Socioeconomic Implications of Recent Twists in Age Structure.” Demography 15: 397-432.



Week 13. African-American Families

Herbert G. Gutman. 1975. “Persistent Myths about the Afro-American Family.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 6: 181-210.


Steven Ruggles. 1994. “The Origins of African-American Family Structure.” American Sociological Review 59 (1994), 136-151.



Week 14. The Fertility Transition in Developing Countries

Ronald Lee. 2003. “The Demographic Transition: Three Centuries of Fundamental Change.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 17: 167-190



Week 15. Divorce, Cohabitation, and Marriage

Valerie Kincade Oppenheimer. 1994. “Women's Rising Employment and the Future of the Family in Industrial Societies.” Population and Development Review, Vol. 20, No. 2. (Jun., 1994), pp. 293-342.


Steven Ruggles. 1997. “The Rise of Divorce and Separation in the United States, 1880-1990.”

Demography, Vol. 34, No. 4. (Nov., 1997), pp. 455-466.


Comments and reply on "The Rise of Divorce and Separation in the United States, 1880-1990"




Homework Assignments


Assignment #1. Use the IPUMS Online tabulation system to create graphs of the age distribution in the United States in 1850 and 2007. Compare the graphs carefully. Write a paragraph that (1) describes all the differences you see, and (2) speculates as to the possible causes of those differences. Email the paragraph to by February 3.



Assignment #2. Using the spreadsheet marst2.xls, calculate the total persons in every census year for natives and foreign born. Next calculate the percent of persons single by census year for natives and foreign born. Finally, make a line graph of the percent single by year for native and foreign. Copy and paste the Excel graph into a Word document, and write a short paragraph speculating on the causes of the difference shown between the two groups. Email the Word file to by February 17.



Assignment #3. Use the IPUMS Online tabulation system to analyze mean years of schooling for at two population subgroups of your choosing in at least two IPUMS census years. You may choose population subgroups defined by any of the following variables:


                                Mother’s birthplace (mbpl) or father’s birthplace (fbpl), which are available 1880-1970

                                Ancestry (ancestr1), available 1980-2007.

                                Hispanic Origin (hispan).

                                Region (region).

                                State (statefip).

                                Size of place (sizepl), available 1850-1950.

                                Metropolitan status (metro).

                                Specific metropolitan areas (metarea); not available in 1960.

                                Farm residence (farm).

                                Radio (radio), available 1930, and Television (tv), available 1960, 1970.

                                Telephone (phone), available 1960-2007.


1.      Choose one of the variables and look it up in the IPUMS documentation (

2.      Some of the variables idenfify just two subgroups (e.g., farm identifies the farm population and the non-farm population). Others, like mother’s birthplace, identify many subgroups. If your variable has many subgroups, identify two specific groups of interest for each variable (such as Germans and Irish).

3.      Using the online tabulator (, select a year. DO NOT CHOOSE 1950.

4.      Specify age as your row variable, school as your column variable, and your selected variable as the control variable.

5.      If necessary, recode the control variable to identify your two subgroups of interest. (

6.      To limit the analysis to people aged 6 to 22, type this after selection filters: age(6-22)

7.      Uncheck percentages and color coding.

8.      Run the table. Make sure you have enough cases in each subgroup (enough is weighted cases over 100,000, unweighted cases over 1,000). If you don’t have enough cases, go back and choose bigger subgroups.

If the tabulator tells you that no cases were found, try using detail codes if they exist for your variable. (Detail codes are explained here.)

9.      Copy and paste the tables for each subgroup into Excel. Remember to use “paste special” and paste as text. Correct the first row of the table to make it line up if necessary.

10. Calculate the proportion in school at each age for both subpopulations.

11. Sum the proportions over all ages to get mean years in school for the synthetic cohort.

12. Repeat steps 3-11 for another census year.

13. You should now have 4 numbers: mean years of schooling for two subgroups in two census years. Write a sentence or two describing your findings and speculating as to their meaning.

14. Email your sentences and spreadsheet to by March 3.



Assignment #4. Go to Social Explorer. You must be on campus, but wireless is fine. Click on the “maps” tab at the top of the screen, and then follow the link to United States Demographic Maps: Census 1790—2007. Explore census years, subjects, and specific measures by making selections from the three drop-down menus under “choose a map” in the upper right hand corner.

You can stick with a national map, or zoom in to look at a particular region. If you want to analyze a particular city, choose tract maps.


Identify an interesting measure that is available in at least 5 censuses, and make an animation by using the “click here to save current map” buttons on the bottom of the screen. Save your animation as a PowerPoint (this is an option under the file menu on the upper left). Write 2-3 sentences explaining what your animation shows, and email your PowerPoint and sentences to by April 14.







Essay Assignments


Essay #1. Pick a topic from the lectures and readings for weeks 1 through 8. Select 2 or 3 supplemental readings on the topic, drawn from the list below or your own research. Write a critical essay of 500-1000 words describing your reaction to the readings and lecture. Who is right and who is wrong? Why? What kind of evidence did you find most persuasive? What evidence was unpersuasive? Write you essay in Word or another major word-processing program and email it to by March 24.


Essay #2. For the second essay we want pretty much the same thing as for the first, but we want you to be more focused. The essay must be based on at least four articles, no more than two of which are required readings, and at least two of which com from the supplemental reading list below, all drawn from the second half of the course. List a bibliography of the readings you used at the end of the essay. Do not go beyond the readings on the syllabus.


Identify a specific issue about which there is disagreement in the various articles. For example, if you were writing about the agricultural revolution, you might address the issue of whether mortality increased or decreased with the coming of agriculture. Or you could look at whether agricultural innovation caused population growth or the other way around. The more specifically you can define the debate, the easier it will be to write an excellent essay.


Once you have identified a specific controversial issue, write a paragraph briefly summarizing the controversy, noting where each author stands. Then write a couple of paragraphs that identify the kinds of evidence each author uses, and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each kind of evidence. Use citations to identify the source of quotations, facts, or arguments. You may use any recognized style for the citations, but I recommend the Chicago author-date system since it is simple and easy ( You may also use information and opinions from lecture, but be sure to cite them (note: because I rearranged the lectures a bit, the readings and the lectures are not always in sync).


Conclude with a paragraph summarizing your own viewpoint on the issue. As before, the length should be 500 to1000 words. Write you essay in Word or another major word-processing program and email it to by May 7.





Supplemental Readings


Population Handbook, Population Reference Bureau (4th edition)

This item is intended as a reference and may be useful for the homework and labs.


For your two essay assignments, you should read 2 or 3 articles in addition to the core readings. The following are suggestions, organized by weekly topic.


Week 1: Agricultural Revolution

Michael Lipton. 1989. “Responses to Rural Population Growth: Malthus and the Moderns.”

Population and Development Review, Vol. 15, Supplement: Rural Development and Population, pp. 215-242.


Jared Diamond and Peter Bellwood. 2003. “Farmers and Their Languages: The First Expansions.” Science  300: 597 - 603


Ola Olsson and Douglas A. Hibbs. 2005. “Biogeography and long-run economic development.” European Economic Review 49: 909-938



Smith, V., 1975. “The economics of the primitive hunter culture, Pleistocene extinctions, and the rise of agriculture.” Journal of Political Economy 84 4, pp. 727–756.


Kremer, M., 1993. “Population growth and technological change: One million B.C. to 1990.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 108: 681–716.


Jacob L. Weisdorf. 2005. “From Foraging To Farming: Explaining the Neolithic Revolution” Journal of Economic Surveys 19: 561-586.



Week 2. Paleodemography

Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel, Stephan Naji, and Matthew Bandy. 2008. “Demographic and Health Changes During the Transition to Agriculture in North America.” Chapter 10 in Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel, ed., Recent Advances in Paleodemography. New York: Springer.


Lyle W. Konigsberg and Susan R. Frankenberg. 2003. “Paleodemography: Not Quite Dead.” Evolutionary Anthropology 3: 92-105.


Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel and Claude Masset. 1982. “Farewell to Paleodemography.” Journal of Human Evolution 11: 321-333.



Dennis P. Van Gerven and George J. Armelagos. 1983. “Farewell to Paleodemography? Rumors of its Death have been Greatly Exaggerated.” Journal of Human Evolution 12: 353-360.




Week 3. Black Death

George Christakos, R.A. Olea, and H.-L. Yua. 2007. “Recent results on the spatiotemporal modelling and comparative analysis of Black Death and bubonic plague epidemics.” Public Health 121: 700-720.



Andrew Noymer. 2007. “Contesting the Cause and Severity of the Black Death: A Review Essay.” Population and Development Review 33: 616-626

Note: link begins on page 607; you must page down to page 616.


George Christakos and Ricardo A. Olea. 2005. “New space-time perspectives on the propagation characteristics of the Black Death epidemic and its relation to bubonic plague.” Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment 19: 307-314.


Eric Lewin Altschulera and Yvonne M. Kariuk. 2008. “Did the 1918 flu virus cause the Black Death?” Medical Hypotheses 71: 986-987.




Week 4. Pre-Columbian Population

David S. Jones. 2003. “Virgin Soils Revisited.” William and Mary Quarterly 60: 703-742.


Rudolph A. Zambardino. 1980. “Mexico's Population in the Sixteenth Century: Demographic Anomaly or Mathematical Illusion?” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 11: 1-27.


John D. Daniels. 1992. “The Indian Population of North America in 1492.” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., 49: 298-320.


Wilbur R. Jacobs. 1974. “The Tip of an Iceberg: Pre-Columbian Indian Demography and Some Implications for Revisionism.” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser. 31: 123-132.


Francis J. Brooks. 1993. “Revising the Conquest of Mexico: Smallpox, Sources, and Populations.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 24: 1-29.


David Henige. 1978. “On the Contact Population of Hispaniola: History as Higher Mathematics. “ Hispanic American Historical Review 58: 217-237.


R. A. Zambardino. 1978. “Critique of David Henige's ‘On the Contact Population of Hispaniola: History as Higher Mathematics’” Hispanic American Historical Review 58: 700-708.


David Henige. 1978. David Henige’s Reply to Zambardino. Hispanic American Historical Review 58: 709-712.


W. George Lovell. 1992. “‘Heavy Shadows and Black Night’: Disease and Depopulation in Colonial Spanish America.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 82: 426-443.


Robert McCaa. 1995. “Spanish and Nahuatl Views on Smallpox and Demographic Catastrophe in Mexico.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 25: 397-431.


William M. Denevan. 1992. “The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 82: 369-385.


Noble David Cook. 2002. “Sickness, Starvation, and Death in Early Hispaniola.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 32: 349-386



Weeks 5 and 6. Historical Family Demography

Steven Ruggles. 1994. The Transformation of American Family Structure. American Historical Review 99: 103-128.


John Hajnal. 1982. “Two Kinds of Preindustrial Household Formation System.”

Population and Development Review, Vol. 8, No. 3. (Sep., 1982), pp. 449-494.

Tamara K. Hareven. 1994. “Aging and Generational Relations: A Historical and Life Course Perspective.” Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 20. (1994), pp. 437-461.


Arland Thornton. 2001. “The Developmental Paradigm, Reading History Sideways, and Family Change.” Demography - Volume 38, Number 4, November 2001


David I. Kertzer. 1991. Household History and Sociological Theory

Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 17. (1991), pp. 155-179.


Tamara K. Hareven. 1991.The History of the Family and the Complexity of Social Change

The American Historical Review, Vol. 96, No. 1. (Feb., 1991), pp. 95-124.


Steven Ruggles. 2003. Multigenerational Families in Nineteenth-Century America

Continuity and Change 18: 139-165



Week 7. China

Demographic Conditions and Multi-generation Households in Chinese History. Results from Genealogical Research and Microsimulation

Zhongwei Zhao

Population Studies, Vol. 48, No. 3. (Nov., 1994), pp. 413-425.

Stable URL:


China's Fertility Transition through Regional Space: Using GIS and Census Data for a Spatial Analysis of Historical Demography

G. William Skinner

Social Science History - Volume 24, Number 3, Fall 2000 – Article


Two Centuries of Mortality Change in Central Japan: The Evidence from a Temple Death Register

Ann Bowman Jannetta; Samuel H. Preston

Population Studies, Vol. 45, No. 3. (Nov., 1991), pp. 417-436.

Stable URL:


The Population Statistics of China, A.D. 2-1953

John D. Durand

Population Studies, Vol. 13, No. 3. (Mar., 1960), pp. 209-256.

Stable URL:


Parity Progression and Birth Intervals in China: The Influence of Policy in Hastening Fertility Decline

Griffith Feeney; Wang Feng

Population and Development Review, Vol. 19, No. 1. (Mar., 1993), pp. 61-101.

Stable URL:


Changes in Family Structure in China: A Simulation Study

Zeng Yi

Population and Development Review, Vol. 12, No. 4. (Dec., 1986), pp. 675-703.

Stable URL:


Five Decades of Missing Females in China

Ansley J. Coale; Judith Banister

Demography, Vol. 31, No. 3. (Aug., 1994), pp. 459-479.

Stable URL:



Week 8. Family Reconstitution

English Population History from Family Reconstitution: Summary Results 1600-1799

E. A. Wrigley; R. S. Schofield

Population Studies, Vol. 37, No. 2. (Jul., 1983), pp. 157-184.

Stable URL:


Migration, Marriage, and Mortality: Correcting Sources of Bias in English Family Reconstitutions

Steven Ruggles

Population Studies, Vol. 46, No. 3. (Nov., 1992), pp. 507-522.

Stable URL:


English population history from family reconstitution 1580-1837

P. Razzell

Social History of Medicine 11 (3): 469-500


Bias in Age at Marriage in Family Reconstitutions: Evidence from French- Canadian Data

Bertrand Desjardins

Population Studies, Vol. 49, No. 1. (Mar., 1995), pp. 165-169.

Stable URL:


The Effect of Migration on the Estimation of Marriage Age in Family Reconstitution Studies

E. A. Wrigley

Population Studies, Vol. 48, No. 1. (Mar., 1994), pp. 81-97.

Stable URL:


Alice Bee Kasakoff and John W. Adams

The effect of migration on ages at vital events: A critique of family reconstitution in historical demography

European Journal of Population



Week 9. Slave Trade

Epidemiology and the Slave Trade Author(s): Philip D. Curtin Source: Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 83, No. 2 (Jun., 1968), pp. 190-216 Published by: The Academy of Political Science Stable URL:


A Peculiar Population: The Nutrition, Health, and Mortality of American Slaves from Childhood to Maturity Author(s): Richard H. Steckel Source: The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 46, No. 3 (Sep., 1986), pp. 721-741 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Economic History Association Stable URL:


Fertility Differentials between Slaves in the United States and the British West Indies: A Note on Lactation Practices and Their Possible Implications Author(s): Herbert S. Klein and Stanley L. Engerman Source: The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Apr., 1978), pp. 357-374 Published by: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture Stable URL:


Slave Women and Reproduction in Jamaica, c.1776–1834.


History; Apr2006, Vol. 91 Issue 302, p231-253, 23p



Week 10. Population Revolution

Population Change in Eighteenth-Century England. A Reinterpretation Author(s): P. E. Razzell Source: The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 18, No. 2 (1965), pp. 312-332 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Economic History Society Stable URL:


Family Limitation and the English Demographic Revolution: A Simulation Approach Author(s): N. F. R. Crafts and N. J. Ireland Source: The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 36, No. 3 (Sep., 1976), pp. 598-623 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Economic History Association Stable URL:


Some Neglected Factors in the English Industrial Revolution Author(s): John T. Krause Source: The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 19, No. 4 (Dec., 1959), pp. 528-540 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Economic History Association Stable URL:


Changes in English Fertility and Mortality, 1781-1850 Author(s): J. T. Krause Source: The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 11, No. 1 (1958), pp. 52-70 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Economic History Society Stable URL:


English Population in the Eighteenth Century Author(s): H. J. Habakkuk Source: The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 6, No. 2 (1953), pp. 117-133 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Economic History Society Stable URL:


Medical Evidence Related to English Population Changes in the Eighteenth Century Author(s): Thomas McKeown and R. G. Brown Source: Population Studies, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Nov., 1955), pp. 119-141 Published by: Population Investigation Committee Stable URL:

Family Limitation in Pre-Industrial England: A Reappraisal Author(s): Richard B. Morrow Source: The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Aug., 1978), pp. 419-428 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Economic History Society Stable URL:


Family Limitation in Pre-Industrial England Author(s): E. A. Wrigley Source: The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 19, No. 1 (1966), pp. 82-109 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the Economic History Society Stable URL:


The Growth of Population in Eighteenth-Century England: A Conundrum Resolved Author(s): E. A. Wrigley Source: Past and Present, No. 98 (Feb., 1983), pp. 121-150 Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of The Past and Present Society Stable URL:


Week 11. Demographic Transition

Were Women Present at the Demographic Transition?: Questions from a Feminist Historian to Historical Demographers

Alison MacKinnon

Gender and History 7 (1995), 222-240.


The Idea of Demographic Transition and the Study of Fertility Change: A Critical Intellectual History

Simon Szreter

Population and Development Review, Vol. 19, No. 4. (Dec., 1993), pp. 659-701.

Stable URL:


The Mechanisms of Demographic Change in Historical Perspective

J. C. Caldwell

Population Studies, Vol. 35, No. 1. (Mar., 1981), pp. 5-27.

Stable URL:


Another Look at Coale's Indices of Fertility, If and Ig

Wetherell, Charles

Social Science History - Volume 25, Number 4, Winter 2001 - Article


The Decline of Fertility in Europe

Ansley J. Coale; Susan Cotts Watkins; Rudolf Andorka; David Levine; Charles Tilly

Population and Development Review, Vol. 12, No. 2. (Jun., 1986), pp. 323-340.

Stable URL:


Child naming, religion, and the decline of marital fertility in nineteenth-century America.

Hacker, J. David

History of the Family, Vol. 4, No. 3, 1999, 339-65



Week 12. Baby Boom

A Reconsideration of Easterlin Cycles

D. P. Smith

Population Studies, Vol. 35, No. 2. (Jul., 1981), pp. 247-264.

Stable URL:


On Two Schools of the Economics of Fertility

Warren C. Sanderson

Population and Development Review, Vol. 2, No. 3/4. (Sep. - Dec., 1976), pp. 469-477.

Stable URL:


The American Baby Boom in Historical Perspective

Richard A. Easterlin

The American Economic Review, Vol. 51, No. 5. (Dec., 1961), pp. 869-911.

Stable URL:


The Economic Theory of Fertility Over Three Decades

Warren C. Robinson

Population Studies, Vol. 51, No. 1. (Mar., 1997), pp. 63-74.

Stable URL:


Are Babies Consumer Durables?: A Critique of the Economic Theory of Reproductive Motivation

Judith Blake

Population Studies, Vol. 22, No. 1. (Mar., 1968), pp. 5-25.

Stable URL:



Week 13. African-American Families

Racial Differences in Household and Family Structure at the Turn of the Century

S. Philip Morgan; Antonio McDaniel; Andrew T. Miller; Samuel H. Preston

American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 98, No. 4. (Jan., 1993), pp. 799-828.

Stable URL:


London, Andrew S.

The Influence of Remarriage on the Racial Difference in Mother-Only Families in 1910

Demography - Volume 38, Number 2, May 2001 – Article


Moehling, Carolyn M. (Carolyn Marie), 1968-

Broken Homes: The "Missing" Children of the 1910 Census

Journal of Interdisciplinary History - Volume 33, Number 2, Autumn 2002 – Article


The Origins of African-American Family Structure

Steve Ruggles

American Sociological Review, Vol. 59, No. 1. (Feb., 1994), pp. 136-151.

Stable URL:



Week 14. Fertility Transition in Developing Countries

The Causes of Stalling Fertility Transitions

John Bongaarts

Studies in Family Planning, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Mar., 2006), pp. 1-16


Theories of Fertility Decline and the Evidence from Development Indicators

John Bryant

Population and Development Review

Volume 33 Issue 1, Pages 101 – 127


Also may use readings listed for week 11.


Week 15. Divorce, Cohabitation, Remarriage

The Fall in Household Size and the Rise of the Primary Individual in the United States

Frances E. Kobrin

Demography, Vol. 13, No. 1. (Feb., 1976), pp. 127-138.

Stable URL:


National Estimates of Cohabitation

Larry L. Bumpass; James A. Sweet

Demography, Vol. 26, No. 4. (Nov., 1989), pp. 615-625.

Stable URL:


The Role of Cohabitation in Declining Rates of Marriage

Larry L. Bumpass; James A. Sweet; Andrew Cherlin

Journal of Marriage and the Family, Vol. 53, No. 4. (Nov., 1991), pp. 913-927.

Stable URL:


The Demography of the Unrelated Individual: 1900-1950

Steven Ruggles

Demography, Vol. 25, No. 4. (Nov., 1988), pp. 521-536.

Stable URL:








Useful Websites

Historical Statistics of the United States

Historical Microdata Around the World

Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. World’s greatest source of historical microdata: U.S. and international.

North Atlantic Population Project.  Nineteenth-century census microdata for six countries.

Social Explorer. Make historical demographic maps online!

Historical Census Browser. U.S. county-level census data, 1790-1960.

National Historical Geographic Information System. Comprehensive U.S. aggregate data and boundaries.

Great Britain Historical Geographic Information System

Population Reference Bureau: Basic demographic statistics for all countries of the world

United Nations Population Division: World Population Trends

U.S. Census Bureau

The World Wide Web of Demography maintained by the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute

World Population: A Guide to the WWW

World Health Organization

Minnesota Population Center






Maintained by: Steve Ruggles,

Revised: January 12, 2009
Copyright 1996-2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota

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