The Relationship between Late Childbearing and Post-Reproductive Longevity: The Case of Nineteenth Century Germany

Elisabeta Minca, Brown University
Francesco Scalone, Università di Bologna
Telesforo Ramirez-Garcia, El Colegio de México

This paper examines the relationship between late childbearing and longevity, by using a longitudinal women’s sample of German historical village populations, between 1550 and 1950. Our methods include Nelson-Aalen estimates, as well as multivariate hazards models predicting longevity after the age of 55, based on “age at last birth”, and controlling for the number of children ever born, the total number of dead children, age at first birth, marital status, SES, religion, place of residence and period. Our findings show that before 1875 (an assumed natural fertility period) but not after 1875, each additional year of delay in the age at last birth, increased the women hazard of dying by one percent. Other findings show that before 1875, living in the North and bearing many children decreased the hazard of dying, while having many children who have died, being a widow, and being Protestant significantly increased the hazard of dying.

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Presented in Session 136: The Biodemography of Aging