Fertility and Marriage in New York State in the Era of the Civil War
Michael R. Haines, Avery M. Guest
NBER Historical Working Paper No. 70
This paper analyzes a five percent systematic sample of households from the manuscripts of the New York State Census of 1865 for seven counties (Allegany, Dutchess, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Steuben, Tompkins, and Warren). The sample was selected to provide a diversity of locations, settlement dates, and types of agricultural economy. Two substantial urban areas (the cities of Troy and Poughkeepsie) are in the sample. This census was the first in the United States to ask a question on children ever born. These parity data, along with own-children estimates of age-specific overall and marital fertility rates, are used to examine the relation of fertility with rural-urban residence, occupation, ethnicity, literacy, and location within the state. Singulate mean ages at first marriage and other nuptiality measures are also estimated. The parity data provide direct evidence of fertility decline in the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century. Township data are added to the individual records to provide contextual variables. The issue of ideational versus socioeconomic and structural factors in fertility is discussed.