Land Availability and Fertility in the United States, 1760-1870

Morton Owen Schapiro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The decline in U.S. fertility rates, beginning in the latter part of the eighteenth century, is examined within a general model of fertility determination. The ability of land availability measures to explain the variation in components of the crude birth rate is tested using a pooled regression technique. A set of crude birth rate predictions for rural areas of 23 northern states during the period 1760–1870 is produced and compared with other estimates. It is concluded that the availability of land was a critical factor in determining the demand for children and, ultimately, the fertility rate, across states and over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-600
Number of pages24
JournalThe Journal of Economic History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • History


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