Based primarily on census data between 1887 and 1920, the present article explores the basic structure of the social and economic factors that influenced marital fertility levels during the early part of the fertility transition in Spain. Multiple regression analysis is applied to ecological models based on separate rural and urban data. While some of the conclusions from the Princeton European Fertility Project have been corroborated, a number of the results have been quite noteworthy. Not the least of these are the sharply differing structures of causality in rural and urban areas, and the surprising and consistent role played by literacy as a stimulant of marital fertility. In the discussion of the results, we have insisted on the importance of interpreting different demographic, economic, and cultural indicators within concrete historical contexts.
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