Matrimony: A key element in the demographic system of Modern Europe
In this paper, I summarize Moreno’s work cited above. This summary discusses the factors affecting human natural fertility and also considers European experience during the Modern period. This has been made possible thanks to the advancement of the science of human fertility over the last 60 years. Some theories on “demographic Change” in the 1950’s and 60’s, proposed that human fertility, before ‘the modern transition’, had reached its “biological limit” and the only fundamental variable regulating its changes in the short, medium and long term was ‘mortality’.1 No one doubts that past mortality levels were higher than our contemporary experience. Besides, variations in mortality, be they ordinary or extraordinary (as a result of wars, hunger and infection), played a greater role than presently in regulating population increase. However, it is one hypothesis to admit that mortality played a crucial role in population demographics and another to propose that ultimately variations in population demographics depended exclusively on changes in mortality. Was that really the case? Were there other factors that significantly affected population growth? More, how did western civilization regulate fertility before the demographic transition?