A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: Bi-Modal Fertility Dynamics and Family Life in French-Canadian Quebec
Référence bibliographique 
Levine, David et Savoie, Julie. 2005. «A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: Bi-Modal Fertility Dynamics and Family Life in French-Canadian Quebec ». Histoire Sociale / Social History, vol. 38, no 76, p. 307-337.
Intentions : Understanding of francophone Quebec’s peculiar demographic development through a demystification of the belief regarding the Québec women’s « unique » high rate of fertility and thus revisiting the myth of the large « traditional families » in Quebec.
Questions/Hypothèses : « Our central argument is that previous scholars who have studied demographic data have been misled in assuming that Quebec women, as a group, were much more fertile than their counterparts in other Canadian provinces – or even other countries. This misapprehension arises from the presumption that completed family size in Quebec conformed to a random normal distribution, whereas, in point of fact, this distribution seems to be bi-modal [some are large families with more than seven and some are small families having three or fewer children]. » (p. 309)
Échantillon/Matériau : Les auteurs utilisent les statistiques recueillies par Henripin and Lapierre Adamcyk dans leur ouvrage « La fin de la revanche des berceaux ». Il s’agit d’entrevues conduites en 1971 auprès de 1745 femmes âgées de 15 à 65 ans, concernant leur désir d’avoir des enfants et leur comportement reproductif.
Type de traitement des données : Analyse statistique
« Historians have struggled with an ingrained perception of what constituted the ’traditional’ Quebec family at the beginning of the twentieth century. Early studies on the demographic history of Quebec portrayed women as generators of large families, a practice prescribed by the political elite as well as the Catholic Church. The new social history, and most especially the recent generation of feminist-inspired historians, has revisited and criticized the myth of the large family. Aggregated demographic statistics would indicate that francophone families continued to produce significantly more children than their English-speaking counterparts well into the twentieth century, despite a longstanding experience of industrialization, urbanization and contraception, the so-called hallmarks of modernization. Yet statistics also make clear that, even before the onset of declining fertility in the late nineteenth century, the majority of Quebec families did not do so, and there was in fact wide variation in family size. The real distinctiveness of Quebec’s fertility decline was its unique and persistent minority of very large families that disappeared virtually overnight in the mid-twentieth century when the children of these families chose not to continue the pattern. » (p. 307)