Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sociology and Anthropology


The relationship between development as a process of social change and American fertility on the county level is at issue in this study. It is assumed that while all American counties are at a certain high level of development, different counties might have different potential for development. A specific question, therefore, is: are the counties different in the levels of development?, and if they are, how is development related to fertility variations among counties?;The conceptual framework of the structural-functional approach, namely the Parsonian perspective on social change and the main tenet of the demographic transition theory were adapted to the study;A systematic random sample of 211 counties was selected from the North Central Region to represent the whole nation;An initial model with thirteen independent variables and twelve interaction terms explained 56% of the variation in counties' fertility, however, interaction did not add significantly (7%) to this percentage;After eliminating the interaction, only five independent variables (socioeconomic development, S.E.S., farm background, percentage of families headed by one spouse, and crude death rate) were found to have significant effect on fertility. Two counties (Champaign, Illinois and Geary, Kansas) were found to be influential cases, and they were dropped from the analysis;A revised model of five independent variables and 209 counties accounted for 59% of the variation in the fertility of county populations. Socioeconomic development (the covariate) came as predicted: the major determinant of counties fertility (Beta, -0.43). It alone explained 43% of the variation in fertility. The significance of development in the analysis has supported the issue that fertility change must be viewed in relation to social change;After controlling for development, farm background was the first strongest predictor of fertility (Beta 0.30) followed by S.E.S. (Beta 0.25), percentage of families headed by one spouse (Beta 0.24), and crude death rate (Beta 0.16).



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Yousry Abdel-Hamid Raslan



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173 pages

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Social Work Commons