The Shaping of a Settler Fertility Transition: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century South African Demographic History Reconsidered

Research output: Working paper


Using South African Families (SAF), a new database of settler genealogies, we provide the first comprehensive analysis of women’s fertility in settler South Africa between 1700 and 1900. Differences in parity rates acrossgeographic regions suggest couples knew how to limit fertility prior to theglobal onset of the first fertility transition. We date the start of South Africa’s fertility transition to cohorts born in the 1850s, having children from the 1870s. This timing is similar to other settler communities and earlier than many European countries despite somewhat different economic and social circumstances.


External organisations
  • Australian National University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History


  • South Africa, fertility, genealogies, settler demography
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLund
PublisherDepartment of Economic History, Lund University
Number of pages65
StatePublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameLund Papers in Economic History: Population Economics
PublisherDepartment of Economic History, Lund University

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