Ratios of young children to women. Some information on trends since 1800 in ratios of children under 5 years old to white women 20 to 44 years old by geographic divisions was given in Chapter 2, table 6, with an analysis at the national level only. The trends by geographic divisions are shown graphically in figure 10.
In 1800, the ratios of children under 5 years old to 1,000 white women 20 to 44 years old varied from 1,146 in the New England Division to 1,918 in the East North Central Division. Values higher than 1,400 occurred only in the thinly populated newer areas of settlement and undoubtedly reflected migration that was selective of young women from the older areas, perhaps of women who already had some young children.1 Such long-settled divisions as the Middle Atlantic, South Atlantic, and (in 1810) the West South Central,2 had fertility ratios that were not far above or below a level of 1,400. These long-settled areas probably had a larger proportion of single women and of married women who were not quite as fertile as the select group of women who migrated to frontier areas.
In the normal course of events, the fertility of women in the newer areas of settlement would have declined as the areas became more settled. It did decline, at a faster absolute pace between 1800 and 1850 in the two North Central Divisions and the East South Central Division than in the longer settled divisions.
It is possible that a ratio of about 1,400 children under 5 years old per 1,000 women 20 to 44 years old was the usual size for long-settled divisions, other than New England, for many years before 1800, and that by chance____________________