And the Poor Get Children: Sex, Contraception, and Family Planning in the Working Class

And the Poor Get Children: Sex, Contraception, and Family Planning in the Working Class

And the Poor Get Children: Sex, Contraception, and Family Planning in the Working Class

And the Poor Get Children: Sex, Contraception, and Family Planning in the Working Class

Excerpt

Demographic studies in Europe and the United States long ago demonstrated that the upper social classes evidence lower rates of fertility than do the lower classes. Studies conducted earlier in this century then proved fairly conclusively that such differentials were largely the product of variations in contraceptive behavior. It is a curious fact that our knowledge has progressed but little from this point. Planned Parenthood and other groups have sponsored a good deal of research concerning the relative efficiency of various contraceptives, but these have proven merely what most people had suspected -- that almost any method used faithfully will greatly reduce fertility. The basic problem, important both in a theoretical and practical sense, of what leads more people of one class to practice family limitation and to practice it more faithfully than those of another remained unanswered.

The famous Indianapolis study was a step in this direction. It was aimed primarily at the question of explaining differential fertility and family planning behavior in terms of social and psychological factors. In confining the sample to urban native white Protestant women of at least eight years of education, the study deliberately attempted to minimize the impact of social class and other broad social characteristics. But even within this relatively homogeneous sample, social class proved to be the . . .

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