Abstract

This paper is part of a long-term investigation known as the Mormon Historical Demography Project. It examines the capability of a simulation model, originally proposed by John Bongaarts (1976), to fit the natural fertility pattern which characterized the mid-nineteenth century Mormon population. Application of this model permits estimates to be made of the historical timing and age-incidence of fertility limitation. A sensitivity analysis of the model’s parameters demonstrates that simple changes in the model’s proximate determinants of fertility, excluding contraceptive practices, would be insufficientto account for later transition effects. Thus the results successfully capture the dynamics underlying the Mormon natural fertility pattern as well as offer a framework for future modeling of the transition away from natural fertility.

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