Atkinson, Paul David (2011) Family size and expectations about housing in the later nineteenth century: three Yorkshire towns. Local Population Studies (87). pp. 13-28. ISSN 0143-2974

This article illustrates how cultural history can deepen the understanding of demographic change, presenting evidence about ways in which rising working-class expectations about appropriate living standards may have created additional pressures on the costs of child-rearing. Among the key areas of family consumption, housing costs are selected for examination. It is shown that higher expectations about appropriate housing quality put pressure on family budgets, augmented by the rising cost of like-for-like housing. The discussion considers expectations about the size of the dwelling and attitudes to furnishing the home, and suggests that these rising expectations helped encourage family limitation. Existing accounts of the fertility decline which stress the role of rising expectations are often too generalised: this article illustrates what can be gained by adding detail and geographical variation.

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