Abstract

This study examines the determinants of fertility control in a frontier population made up largely of German-Americans during the years from 1850 to 1910. The analysis employs a complex register of population constructed from census enumerations, civil and ecclesiastical vital registration, and tax assessment rolls. The article begins with a series of bivariate analyses with cohort of mother’s birth, religion, ethnicity, and husband’s occupation determining marital fertility. The second half of the paper presents a multivariate model of the determinants of fertility using these and other demographic characteristics as independent variables. The conclusions emphasize the importance of the overall trend toward fertility decline in the United States, as well as the role of religion and of occupational differences, in determining changes in fertility behavior in the population of Gillespie County, Texas.

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