The shaping of a settler fertility transition: Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century South African demographic history reconsidered

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Using South African Families (SAF), a new database of settler genealogies, we provide the first comprehensive analysis of women’s cohort fertility in settler South Africa between 1700 and 1900. We find parity rates of approximately seven children per woman until a decline begins starting with women born in the 1850s. We date the start of South Africa’s fertility transition to cohorts born in the 1850s, having children from the 1870s. Both average parity and the timing of the transition are similar to other settler societies suggesting that although the sample suffers from selection it does not bias the parity estimates.


External organisations
  • Australian National University
  • Stellenbosch University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Review of Economic History
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 17
Publication categoryResearch