A revisionist view argues that despite early and nearly universal marriage, fertility in pre-Revolutionary China was no higher than in Europe because of deliberate control within marriage. The evidence, however, confirms the received view: Because of early and universal marriage, fertility in China was far higher than that in Europe and would have been even higher had it not been for what Thomas Malthus called “positive checks.” Little or no deliberate birth control took place in China during the period in question.

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