Abstract

Contemporary populations frequently space the births of children, and also attempt to stop childbearing after achieving a desired family size. While stopping behavior was evident in European populations in the late nineteenth century, little is known about the degree to which they attempted to space their children at specific interval lengths. This paper compares spacing patterns among various groups of white U.S. women in 1900, who were distinguished by varying family sizes and levels offertility control. On the whole, there is little evidence of childspacing differences among native white populations, except for some very low parity women. The findings support the continued analysis of age patterns of fertility as the major means for determining the onset of conscious family limitation.

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