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(09-23-2011, 06:41 AM)The_Harlequin_King Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-23-2011, 06:20 AM)GeorgeT Wrote: [ -> ]There were plenty of saints that came from families of 10+ children.

And plenty of saints who were only children. But I would challenge you to name as many saints as you can who, living before 1750, had 9+ living siblings.

At any rate, my previous post was meant only to show that large families are a modern problem, in many ways; not a challenge that's been around for thousands of years. We also leave the nuclear family to take care of themselves far more often than in the past. In the Middle Ages, particularly, several generations of a single family would live in the same house, along with servants. Even peasant families would send off or take other children in to work for other households. So yes, a situation where a medieval couple would have to raise more than 5 kids without the help of extended family or servants is really unthinkable, for the most part. We don't do ourselves any favors by pretending the nuclear family/large number of kids scenario is how the world has always worked.

I agree with the point about isolated nuclear families being a mistake. It was a mistake made by the industrial revolution, which, in itself was also a mistake.

I'm wondering why you're choosing 1750 of all years. It would make more sense if you chose 1960, since it's more relevant to the article. But, frankly, I can't tell you too much about the early lives of the saints. I was thinking of St. Bridget of Sweden. She had 8. I'm not sure why I wrote 10+ Early morning insanity, I suppose.

Also, you need to consider, with living conditions as they were, if 2 children would have been as much as a strain as 10 are today. If that's the case then we no longer have a "modern challenge."

(09-23-2011, 08:55 AM)GeorgeT Wrote: [ -> ]I'm wondering why you're choosing 1750 of all years. It would make more sense if you chose 1960, since it's more relevant to the article. But, frankly, I can't tell you too much about the early lives of the saints.

I mentioned 1750 earlier because that's roughly the time when the average size of families in England began to grow beyond the medieval standard; England being an easy reference point since we're English speakers, and early modern England's history was very well documented. The following excerpt gives an overview of what happened around that time:

Quote:Population growth did not become exponential until around 1750. Before that, high mortality counterbalanced the high fertility needed by agrarian parents. Death rates were high and life expectancy was low; life expectancy at birth was in the range of twenty to forty years (most likely around thirty years) until the middle of the eighteenth century. This high mortality was a function of several factors, including poor nutrition, which led directly to deaths through starvation and indirectly through increasing susceptibility to disease; epidemics; and, quite possibly, infanticide and geronticide, especially during times of food shortage.

Starting in the middle of the eighteenth century, the mortality rate began to decline in the West, the first place in the world where the natural balance between births and deaths was altered by humans. This decline in deaths occurred not because of major medical breakthroughs (e.g., penicillin was first used only in the 1940s) but rather because of improvements in food availability, housing, water cleanliness, personal hygiene, and public sanitation. Later, in the twentieth century, medical advances, particularly vaccinations against infectious diseases, accelerated mortality decline.

http://www.deathreference.com/Nu-Pu/Popu...z1YmpXc9ob

(I think the above assessment is a little more grim than necessary about lifespans for people who made it to adulthood. If you did live to adulthood, then it wasn't terribly unusual to make it to age 60 or later.)

GeorgeT Wrote:I was thinking of St. Bridget of Sweden. She had 8. I'm not sure why I wrote 10+ Early morning insanity, I suppose.

Still, it's good to know. I'll read about her later.
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