Is there a trade-off between fertility and longevity? A comparative study of women from three large historical databases accounting for mortality selection
Language: 
English
Short Title: 
Is there a trade-off between fertility and longevity?
Abstract: 

Frontier populations provide exceptional opportunities to test the hypothesis of a trade-off between fertility and longevity. In such populations, mechanisms favoring reproduction usually find fertile ground, and if these mechanisms reduce longevity, demographers should observe higher postreproductive mortality among highly fertile women. We test this hypothesis using complete female reproductive histories from three large demographic databases: the Registre de la population du QuÈbec ancien (UniversitÈ de MontrÈal), which covers the first centuries of settlement in Quebec; the BALSAC database (UniversitÈ du QuÈbec ‡ Chicoutimi), including comprehensive records for the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean (SLSJ) in Quebec in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and the Utah Population Database (University of Utah), including all individuals who experienced a vital event on the Mormon Trail and their descendants. Together, the three samples allow for comparisons over time and space, and represent one of the largest set of natural fertility cohorts used to simultaneously assess reproduction and longevity. Using survival analyses, we found a negative influence of parity and a positive influence of age at last child on postreproductive survival in the three populations, as well as a significant interaction between these two variables. The effect sizes of all these parameters were remarkably similar in the three samples. However, we found little evidence that early fertility affects postreproductive survival. The use of Heckman's procedure assessing the impact of mortality selection during reproductive ages did not appreciably alter these results. We conclude our empirical investigation by discussing the advantages of comparative approaches.

Author(s): 
Gagnon, Alain
Smith, Ken R.
Tremblay, Marc
VÈzina, HÈlËne
ParÈ, Paul-Philippe
Desjardins, Bertrand
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
American Journal of Human Biology: The Official Journal of the Human Biology Council
Journal Abbreviation: 
Am. J. Hum. Biol.
Publication Date: 
2009-08
Publication Year: 
2009
Pages: 
533-540
Volume: 
21
Issue: 
4
ISSN: 
1520-6300
DOI: 
10.1002/ajhb.20893
Library Catalog: 
NCBI Published Medical (?)
Extra: 
PMID: 19298004

Turabian/Chicago Citation

Alain Gagnon, Ken R. Smith, Marc Tremblay, HÈlËne VÈzina, Paul-Philippe ParÈ and Bertrand Desjardins. 2009-08. "Is there a trade-off between fertility and longevity? A comparative study of women from three large historical databases accounting for mortality selection." American Journal of Human Biology: The Official Journal of the Human Biology Council 21: 4: 533-540. 10.1002/ajhb.20893.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = 10.1002/ajhb.20893 | issn = 1520-6300 | volume = 21 | pages = 533-540 | last = Gagnon | first = Alain | coauthors = Smith, Ken R., Tremblay, Marc, VÈzina, HÈlËne, ParÈ, Paul-Philippe, Desjardins, Bertrand | title = Is there a trade-off between fertility and longevity? A comparative study of women from three large historical databases accounting for mortality selection | journal = American Journal of Human Biology: The Official Journal of the Human Biology Council | date = 2009-08 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>