Fertility and Social Structure
In this country three children is enough.
Mother told me not to go out without an umbrella; I didn't know what she meant.
Abortions? A lot of people went for cleanings.
You had to learn from your friend . . . when I got married I had a Jewish friend that told me all about diaphragms. . . . I was the one who didn't have children so soon after marriage . . . I told my older sisters. daughter of Concetta Pancini
In every country and every culture there are ways to control the number of births, but only in industrialized societies has the birth rate become seriously limited. Jews and Italians both reduced their birth rates as they lived longer in the United States, although southern Italians reduced their fertility to a smaller degree and later in their marriages (see also Kessner 1977: 171ff; Watkins and Danzi 1995). Table 5.1 shows fertility rates for first-generation immigrants. The smallest decline in fertility occurred among Italian immigrants, and the greatest occurred among Jews from Poland and Russia.
Not only was there a progressive decline over the years in the number of children born in Jewish families, but the marriage age of women became increasingly higher and the intervals between first and second births continuously increased. In addition, the number of childless women increased substantially-- perhaps due to the fact, at least in part, that the custom of arranged marriages was gradually dying.