Spatial versus Social Distance in the Diffusion of Fertility Decline: Evidence from Sweden 1880-1900

Sebastian Kluesener, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Francesco Scalone, Università di Bologna

Most existing studies on the adaptation of deliberate fertility control strategies during the fertility transition focus either on macro-level trends or on micro-level processes with limited geographic scope. Less attention is given to the interplay between individual characteristics and contextual conditions including distance to early centers of the decline. Our paper aims to close this existing research gap. The main research question is whether spatial or social distance are more relevant as constraints for the adaptation of deliberate fertility control strategies. We analyze individual-level 100%-samples of the Swedish censuses of 1880, 1890 and 1900 with detailed information on socioeconomic status. GIS-based multi-level models allow us to add controls for the socioeconomic and geographic context at the parish level. Preliminary results suggest that in this initial phase of the fertility decline in Sweden, social class boundaries were putting higher constraints on the diffusion of the fertility decline compared to spatial distances.

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Presented in Session 99: Spatial Analysis and Network Analysis