Pre-transitional Populations: Historical and Anthropological Demography

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GRIN Verlag, 2007 - 32 pages
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Essay from the year 2002 in the subject Geography / Earth Science - Demographics, Urban Management, Planning, grade: 1.1, Oxford University (New College), 9 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Demographic growth has not been uniform over time. Periods of expansion have alternated with others of stagnation and even decline; and the interpretation of these, even for relatively recent historical periods, is not an easy task. The numerical progress of population has been, if not dictated, at least constrained by many forces and obstacles which have determined the general direction of the path of its growth. These can be categorised as biological and environmental. The former are linked to the laws of mortality and reproduction which determine the rate of demographic growth; the latter determine the resistance which these laws encounter and further regulate the rate of growth. Biological and environmental factors affect each other reciprocally and so are not independent of one another. For the most part the mechanisms for re-establishing an equilibrium of population growth are the product of choice (fertility, nuptiality and migration) although some are automatic. The sizes of households and families have varied over time, but they seem to have been similar in different societies despite differences in the types of households. It has to be noted that the European marriage and family formation is neither universal nor is it totally unique.
 

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Page 10 - A young married couple often start life together eithet in the household of which an older couple is and remains in charge or in a household of which an unmarried older person (such as a widower or widow) continues to be head. Usually the young wife joins her...
Page 8 - Western married women in the absence of contraception had on average a total marital fertility rate (TMFR) — the number of children a married woman would bear in her...
Page 8 - ... if she experienced at each age the marital fertility rates of a given year - on average 7.5-9 children, Chinese married women had a TMFR of 6 or less. European marital fertility was much higher than Asian in historical populations, especially in the younger age groups, and it declined more slowly. This low marital fertility is one of the most distinctive features of the Chinese demographic system. Overall fertility was probably not much higher than European fertility. China's significantly lower...
Page 6 - China, the distinctive influence of mortality on population was not through famines or epidemics, but through individual practice interventions. Famines of course occurred and so apparently did epidemics, but these crises appear to have had less severe mortality consequences than they did elsewhere. Successive historic Chinese states developed a variety of institutions to compensate for poor harvests, including an empire-wide system of granaries that annually redistributed up to 10.5% of the national...
Page 6 - China the distinctive impact of mortality on population was not through famines or epidemics, but through individual proactive interventions. Famines of course occurred. So apparently did epidemics.19 But these crises appear to have had less severe mortality consequences than elsewhere. Successive historic Chinese states developed a variety of institutions to combat poor harvests, including an empirewide system of granaries that annually redistributed up to 5 percent of the national grain supply...
Page 7 - ... families.23 In other areas, such as Taiwan, infanticide appears to have been uncommon.24 Such an active use of mortality meant that survivorship was determined as much by endogenous decision making as by exogenous " misery. " Chinese mortality patterns were consequently highly differentiated not just by biology but also by choice. Most prominent and prevalent among these choices was a primordial prejudice against daughters. Son preference dates back to the origins of ancestral worship in the...
Page 6 - Numerous individual efforts supplemented these large-scale collective enterprises. This culture of mortality control through individual agency, which has existed for millennia, produced a pattern of mortality that was highly differentiated by age, class, gender, and residential group. On one hand, educated or wealthy Chinese families with access to knowledge of preventive techniques and the means to make use of them could prolong the life of favored members by paying particular attention to personal...
Page 7 - ... could inherit the family patrimony (Bernhardt 1995). Not only did patrilocal marriage customs require daughters to marry out, but also hypergamous marriage patterns required upper-class families to provide a dowry to accompany them. Daughters, therefore, were not only culturally considered inferior; they were also perceived by most families as a net economic and emotional loss.25 Chinese mortality patterns were thus highly differentiated by sex. Figures 4.2 and 4.3 compare infant and child mortality...
Page 8 - ... of the eighteenth century as fertility declined and infanticide increased, peaked at 1 2 percent in the late eighteenth century, and returned in the early nineteenth century, along with infanticide, to the levels of the early eighteenth century. Thus the Chinese demographic system was characterized by a multiplicity of choices that balanced marital passion and parental love with arranged marriage, the need to regulate coitus, the decision to kill or give away children, and the adoption of other...
Page 10 - Late marriage by both sexes (mean age at first marriage are, say, over 26 for men and over 23 for women). b. After marriage a couple are in charge of their household (the husband is head of household).

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