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Morgan, S. Philip (2013). Fertility.. Baxter, Janeen (Ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.


Fertility refers to the actual production of offspring and not the biological potential to reproduce (fecundity). Fertility is rooted in a biological sequence of conception, gestation, and birth; social and environmental factors heavily influence each stage. Thus, the factors affecting fertility are diverse and are potentially interactive; as a result, understanding fertility change/variation requires a multidisciplinary approach. Sociologists emphasize social and environmental factors that have potential impacts at the population level, that is, sociologists focus on factors that can account for fertility changes over time or differences between populations. Rapid global population growth in the second half of the 20th century emerged as a central policy concern in both the United States and internationally. Differential fertility of national co-resident groups or adjacent population groups has also spawned concerns about future governance and security. Sociologists study the underlying reasons for these fertility changes/differences and their purported consequences. Sociologists also study variation in fertility across individuals because fertility number and timing can affect the life courses of individuals (of parents and children) and the families they form.


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Morgan, S. Philip