Summary

The objectives of this paper were to review and summarize the existing literature on Jewish fertility and to discuss the highlights of data on fertility trends and differentials based on survey data obtained on the Jewish population of the metropolitan area of Providence, Rhode Island. The literature consistently confirmed the finding of lower fertility among Jews since the 1880’s in the United States and for the last seventy-five years in a variety of European countries.

A review of available data on fertility trends and differentials within the Jewish population indicated contradictory and inconsistent findings. The Providence survey data pointed to changing patterns of fertility among Jews and clarified a number of seeming inconsistencies. These data suggested (1) the pre-World War II decline and postwar recovery of Jewish fertility; (2) the change from an inverse relationship of social class and Jewish fertility among first-generation Jews to a direct relationship among second- and third-generation Jews; (3) the changing relationship of religiosity and Jewish fertility, which reflects social class changes.

Finally, an attempt is made to clarify the interpretation of these and related findings by placing the analysis of Jewish fertility in the context of assimilation and acculturation.

Resumen

Los objetivos de este trabajo eran revisar y resumir la literatura existente sobre la fecundidad judía y discutir los datos sobre tendencias en la fecundidad y diferenciales, teniendo como base la información obtenida en una encuesta entre la población judía del área metropolitana de Providence, Rhode Island. La literatura consistentemente ha confirmado el hallazgo de una baja fecundidad entre judíos desde los anos de 1880 en los Estados Unidos y durante los últimos 75 a~nos en diversos paises europeos.

Una revisión de los datos disponibles sobre las tendencias de la fecundidad y las diferencias dentro de la población judía dió como resultado hallazgos inconsistentes y contradictorios. Los datos de la encuesta de Providence señalaron patrones defertilidad cambiantes entre los judiós y aclararon un sinnúmero de inconsistencias. Estos datos sugirieron (1) la disminución de la fecundidad judía antes de la II Guerra Mundial, y su recuperación en el período de postguerra; (2) el cambio de la relación inversa entre clase social y fecundidad entre la primera generación de judíos, a una relación directa entre judíos de la segunda y tercera generaciones; (3) la cambiante relación entre religiosidad y fecundidad judia, lo cual refleja cambios en la close social.

Finalmente, se ha intentado aclarar la interpretación de estos y otros hallazgos relacionados, ubicando el análisis de la fecundidad judia dentro del contexto de la asimilación y aculturación.

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