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Population and Fertility

Nature volume 143, page 632 (15 April 1939) | Download Citation



A PAMPHLET of 101 pages, entitled “Population and Fertility”, has been issued by the Population Investigation Committee, 69 Eccleston Square, London, S.W.I (price 3s.). It has been prepared for the Committee by Mr. D. V. Glass and Dr. C. P. Blacker. The Population Investigation Committee was formed to examine the trends of population in Great Britain and the Dominions and to investigate the causes of these trends with special reference to the fall in the birth-rate. Many causes for this decline have been suggested; but multiple causes are at work affecting different occupations and different parts of the country in many complicated ways, so that effective counter-measures will not be easy to find. The problem is to find out how and why fertility has declined. For analysis of the first part, statistics of birth-rates and fertility-rates are given for England and Wales, the Dominions, U.S.A., Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, Ukraine and Japan. The table of net reproduction-rates for thirteen countries shows that only five of these populations are now replacing themselves. Interesting details are given regarding the history of the census in Great Britain and the recent Population (Statistics) Bill. It is pointed out that the latter is inadequate for a full fertility census, and certain additional questions are suggested for the next census. In the last two chapters, the limitations of vital registration statistics in analysing the psychological motives of childlessness are discussed and possible counter-measures are considered.

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