Abstract

The natural fertility schedule of a population is the schedule of age-specific marital fertility we would observe if no birth control were being practiced. In natural fertility (no birth control) populations we can observe the natural fertility schedule directly, but in populations practicing birth control the natural fertility schedule is disguised by the marital fertility rates in those age intervals in which control is exercised, the marital fertility rates being below the natural rates. This paper elaborates a method for estimating the natural fertility schedules of populations practicing birth control. Two alternative models are presented, one nonlinear and one linear. The use of these models is then illustrated with reference to the Old Order Amish population of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It is shown that for Amish women born between 1860 and 1900 both the nonlinear and linear models yield an estimate of .843 as the ratio between Amish and Hutterite natural fertility schedules.

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