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Regional differences in demographic behaviour, the Netherlands, 1900-1960 (RDN)

Naaimachine
Young woman behind a sowing machine, ca. 1900 (Coll: IISH, Amsterdam)
This research is a joint project with the department of History of the University of Nijmegen (KUN). Its aim is to build a data file for use in two projects:

Women, work and demographic behaviour in the Netherlands, 1900-1960 (mrs. dr. A.A.P.O. Janssens, NWO registration number 240-129-046);

Changes in nubility and fertility in the Netherlands, 1900-1960 (drs. M.P.G. Panhuijsen).
Both projects are under the auspices of the N.W. Posthumus Institute research program 'Labour in transforming societies', under the supervision of dr. Th.L.M. Engelen and dr. M. Baud.
Central to the first project are the demographic effects of women's participation in the labour market. Work, marriage and family are viewed as an integrated whole. The central question of this research project is: to what degree does the participation of women in the labour market have effects on marriage and reproduction in the lives of women? The goal is to show the historical development of labour participation by married and unmarried women for the cohorts 1881-1885 and 1911-1915 in four urban areas.

The second project will try to understand the causes of demographic modernization of the Netherlands between 1900 and 1960. In comparison to other countries modernization in the Netherlands came late and was relatively slow. This research focuses on two important discussion points in historiography: the role of cultural-mental variables and the reduction of the aggregation level to the level of individuals and couples. A quantitative study will be performed based on an explanation model for demographic transition designed in Nijmegen. This research will use the same data concerning women as the first project.

The data file RDN will be composed using a sample of two cohorts (1881-1885 and 1911-1915) from the birth registers in Rotterdam, Enschede, Tilburg and Zaanstad. The sample will count 400 persons of both sexes, except in Tilburg and Zaanstad where the research population will consist solely of women. Where sampled persons still lived in their place of birth at the age of fifteen, all their data were entered from the population registers. In cases of migration without return or when the sampled persons reached the age of sixty, the observation stopped. Extra over-sampling took place where there remained fewer than 200 sampled persons. This occurred mainly in the cohorts of women.

During the first quarter of 1997 the last part of the samples was entered by the HSN from the population registers of Tilburg and Rotterdam. The processing program, needed for the integration of the population registers, was ready in March 1997. In April of that year the integrated data files were sent to Nijmegen. In 1998 and 1999 attention was focussed on the input of personal cards. A special program was written to integrate personal cards with the releases of the population registers. In 2002, the definitive dataset was released.

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