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Demographic Behaviour and Modernisation in Spain, 1870-1960


Research objectives and content The significance of the demographic transition for the modernization of European societies and for the make-up of today's world, together with the inherent weaknesses of the theoretical formulations which are normally used to explain it, have encouraged us to make use of innovative analytical perspectives in the course of the present project Our basic hypothesis is that the ubiquitous use of aggregate date to explain and interpret changes in people's demographic behaviour will never yield truly satisfactory results. A perspective based on the experience of individuals and their families will prove to be far more useful, as long as we can control for the social, economic and cultural characteristics of those individuals, their families and their community. Having obtained the necessary legal permit, access has been secured to the Civil Register of the towns of Aranjuez andof Torrelaguna (Madrid) whose books have been microfilmed for this project. With these data, a family reconstitution will be undertaken between 1871 and 1960, a period covering the entire process of demographic modernization. Complementary data bases on the social, economic and educational characteristics of individuals and of families, as well as on the height of military draftees will be generated. Once the requisite data bases are ready, a number of studies will be carried out on the transition of fertility and mortality from a micro-analytical perspective, in terms of the timing and intensity of demographic change on the one hand, and the age, occupation, migratory status, literacy, family situation, etc. of the individuals involved in those changes.

Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)

With these data in hand, we will be le to identify, for example, who the first women to experience reductions in the mortality of their own children and assess the extent to which this ended up influencing their fertility behaviour later in married life. We also hope to be in a position to assess a number of aspects of mortality across generations of the same family groups. Finally we will be able to explore some of the determinants of the nutritional status of males (measured with height data for military recruits), as well as the implication this has for people's health later on in life. These are only a few of the analytical issues, which will be addressed in the course of this project. The results derived from this study promise to be innovative not only in Spain, but in other international contexts as well. It will be the first database in the world to gather this type of information for enough people and families so as to be le toe undertake sophisticated analyses of the process of change in demographic behaviour and its relation to the transformation of society.

Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)

See Proposal for more information

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


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