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The list of persons invited to the founding session of the Population Association of America in 1931 is used to define the field of population studies in the United States from 1900 to 1930. Four factions are identified: immigration restrictionists, eugenicists, birth controllers, and population scientists. The history and ideological orientation of each group is outlined. The period was characterized by dissension, as different ideological perspectives produced discordant appraisals of population trends. Biological Malthusians focused on compositional changes in population and their impact on genetic quality; classic Malthusians focused on changes in numbers and their impact on economic prosperity. The valuation dimension of demographic assessment is highlighted by surveying population thought in an era of advocacy and controversy.


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Copyright 1991 Wiley and Population Council.

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Population and Development Review

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Hodgson, Dennis. "The ideological origins of the Population Association of America." Population and Development Review 17, no. 1 (March 1991): 1-34.

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