Princeton European Fertility Project:
Socio-economic Data

Although socio-economic factors were considered to be of great importance in explaining the decline of fertility in Europe, no standard measures of social and economic conditions were developed. The socio-economic variables vary considerably from country to country, because of the unavailability of relevant data in some instances and the need to include variables of purely local relevance in other instances.

A number of the countries included in the Princeton European Fertility Project were studied only to the extent of compiling available demographic data. In other cases, the data may have been analyzed entirely without the use of computers and original data other than the demographic indices were not available. In the early 1980's, OPR had decks of punch cards containing all available socio-economic data for a number of countries. Those that had any documentation available were copied to a tape; the codebooks were keypunched and copied to tape also.

In 1982, Susan Watkins and Beverly Harris began to work on making these socio-economic data available. Initially, it was assumed that a sufficient number of variables would be common among countries to make it worthwhile to merge these data files into a file similar to the master file created by Roy Treadway. This assumption, unfortunately, turned out to be incorrect. Very few of the variables are common. Even for a given country, variables are often not the same across years.

As the work progressed, it became clear that some of the data had not been documented fully. Where the documentation included variable names without descriptions, 'best-guesses' were assigned as descriptions. Such instances are noted in the data.

Countries for which Socio-economic data are available

Socio-economic data and documentation are available for the following countries:

OPR also has socio-economic data for England, Wales and Scotland; however, the codebook has severe deficiencies. We hope to be able to correct these and offer those data as well.