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Title: The decline of fertility in Scotland
Author: Morse, Donald John
ISNI:       0000 0001 3426 0108
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1988
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The primary concern of the thesis is to describe the onset of fertility decline in Scotland at the level of the lowest unit of aggregation for which data are published, the civil parish. The purpose behind this concern is two-fold: to establish a clearer picture of the course of fertility decline in this country than has been done hitherto; and to create a database as a 'springboard' for further research, in an effort to seek explanations for the occurrence of a Scottish 'demographic transition'. The variant of the civil parish demographic data set used is given in Appendix Tables A 1.1 - A 1.4, in terms of the levels of Im (nuptiality), Ig (marital fertility), Ih (extra-marital fertility), and If (overall fertility), over 856 Scottish civil parishes for 1881, 1891, and 1901 These data are used in chapters 3 to 5 to describe the onset of fertility decline at the civil parish, or 'local', level, over the whole of Scotland. Against the background of overall fertility decline, most apparent is the high degree of local heterogeneity of demographic behaviour which characterised the 'transition' in this country. This is something that studies conducted at higher levels of aggregation can only gloss over. Thus, it is argued, a clearer understanding of why the "demographc transiton' occurred is likely only to be gained through detailed study of a large number of small areas. The main task of the present study is description, but explanations for the decline of fertility in this country are also sought. The published data available on non-demographic variables (such as those for occupation and church membership used here) are, however, meagre at the level of the civil parish, and do not match the "sensitivity" of the indices of fertility and nuptial ity around which the database is built. Consequently, few firm answers are found. This highlights the need for further research at the small area level. Finally, in order to demonstrate that local studies are more likely to contribute to a clearer understanding of the decline of fertility in Scotland than summary analyses, a fairly detailed investigation of the 'rural' county of East Lothian is done. Here, it is evident that county level indicators of fertility can be very misleading. Although the county of East Lothian limited its marital fertility fairly early on, at the civil parish level a much more complex mosaic of experience pertained. Overall then, the thesis argues that more locally focussed, detailed research, is likely to be the most valuable, if not the only route, by which clear answers to the 'why' of fertility decline in Scotland are likely to be obtained. The data base created in preparation for the thesis is a contribution to that end.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fertility decline in Scotland