Demographic Responses to Short-Term Economic Stress in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Rural Japan: Evidence from Two Northeastern Villages
Examines the patterns and trends of demographic responses to changes in living standards in two farming villages in north-eastern Japan from 1716 to 1870. Using the local population registers (ninbetsu-aratame-cho), we analyse the impacts of short-term economic stress measured by annual variations of rice prices on mortality, fertility, first marriage, and migration. The result shows that first marriage and out-migration are most responsive to short-term economic stress. Household resources and wealth also influence these individual demographic behaviours but the effects differ by sex, life stage, and type/reason of behaviour. Findings on temporal trends suggest improvements of female socio-demographic status during the late nineteenth century.
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