Thinking of England and taking care: Family building strategies and infant mortality in England and Wales, 1891–1911

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Abstract

Debates concerning the origins and development of the late nineteenth- to early twentieth-century declines in marital fertility and infant mortality in England and Wales have been centred largely on the material provided by answers to the ‘special’ questions in the 1911 Census. In their published form these figures have restricted researchers to an examination of large scale geographic and social class differences in the levels and rates of decline of the two phenomena. This paper outlines research conducted on a sample of individual census returns from the 1911 census. From this data it becomes clear that for Victorian and Edwardian England ‘where one lived’ was rather more important than ‘who one was’ in determining both family building strategies and the survival of those children born.

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