JOHN B. WYON
This chapter reports selected findings from a longitudinal study of community- based rates of deaths, sicknesses, and birth intervals in eleven villages of the Punjab, India. These findings were the result of broader studies of births, deaths, migrations, and population dynamics, and a test of birth-control methods villagers could use on their own to cause lower birth rates in some village communities.
In 1951 John E. Gordon responded to worldwide concern with rapid growth of populations. He agreed to direct a test of the capacity of birth-control methods to reduce the birth rate of a rural population in India.1 To him, all inhabitants of a village defined the obvious population unit. During the subsequent seven years from April 1953 to March 1960 a field staff conducted observations by monthly visits to all homes in eleven villages near Khanna in the Punjab. In 1969 a small staff conducted a six-month follow-up study in all households of the same villages.
Gordon affirmed that (a) the intent of the birth-control programme was to reduce problems arising from rapid population growth, and (b) that no detailed, accurate knowledge then existed from rural communities in India (or anywhere else) on the three demographic dimensions of their population growth--the community-based rates of birth, death, and migrations. Even less was known about their determinants. He also believed that the determinants of these rates influence each other.
Gordon judged regular home visits in the villages hosting the birth-control____________________