In this essay. I suggest that the crisis in our understanding of fertility transitions is more apparent than real. Although most existing theories of fertility transition have been partially or wholly discredited, this reflects a tendency to assume that all fertility transitions share one or two causes, to ignore mortality decline as a precondition for fertility decline, to assume that pretransitional fertility is wholly governed by social constraints rather than by individual decision-making. and to test ideas on a decadal time scale. I end the essay by suggesting a perceptual. interactive approach to explaining fertility transitions that is closely allied to existing theories but focuses on conditions that lead couples to switch from postnatal to prenatal controls on family size.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.