Forerunners of the demographic transition: Jews in Bohemia in the 18th and 19th centuries – micro- and macro-data perspective
Jana Vobecká, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Jews in Bohemia were true forerunners of the demographic transition in Europe with relatively low fertility in marriage already by the end of the 18th century. Combined with relatively low mortality this was a unique combination in Europe. Further research is needed to understand which structural characteristics of the Jewish population were behind these trends. In the paper we focus on the family size, spacing between the birth and the age at marriage. The paper presents first results of an analysis of fertility and family structure of Jews in Bohemia in the 18th and 19th centuries based on micro-level data available from population registers and censuses. These results are complemented with the analysis of the Jewish population trends apparent from the aggregate data. The combination of the two perspectives helps to understand the components behind the early onset of the demographic transition among Jews in Bohemia. The demographic structures and trends are interpreted in the social, economic and legal context in which Jewish population lived in Bohemia. The general aim of the research is to understand the triggers that led to an early onset of the demographic transition among Jews in Bohemia at a time when their live was still restricted to the ghettos, their rights heavily restricted and industrialization was just at its very early stages.
Presented in Poster Session 2