Ní Bhrolcháin, Maire. 'Time period versus generation: how should trends in fertility be measured'. - Dublin: Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland,Vol. XXVII, 1995/1996, pp235-290
Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland Vol. XXVII 1995/1996
This paper starts by presenting the contrast between two approaches to depicting
time-trends in fertility - the period and cohort perspectives - and discusses why it is
that the existence of two approaches presents a problem for fertility analysis. It then
considers the arguments for and against the period and cohort approaches to
representing fertility trends. The conclusion reached is that there are clear grounds
for preferring the period approach to the cohort perspective, but that the period
measures currently used to depict fertility trends are defective and need to be
replaced. I go on to examine what the criteria are for a sensible system of
measurement for period fertility and present a (partly) new approach to constructing
fertility indicators that meets these requirements. Recent trends in fertility in Ireland
are considered briefly in the context of the potential uses of data collected by the
current Irish birth registration system. Finally, some objections to the view advocated
in the paper are discussed. The paper’s aims are, thus, both destructive and
constructive, arguing against the currently conventional approach and suggesting an
alternative system of measurement.
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