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Unequal lands: Soil type, nutrition and child mortality in southern Sweden, 1850-1914

Hedefalk, Finn LU ; Quaranta, Luciana LU and Bengtsson, Tommy LU (2016) In Lund Papers in Economic History. Population Economics
Abstract
Background
Child mortality differed greatly within rural regions in Europe before and during the mortality decline. Not much is known about the role of nutrition in such geographic differences, and about the factors affecting the nutritional level and hence the resistance to diseases.

Objective
Focusing on nutrition, we analyse the effects of soil type, used as an indicator of the farm-level agricultural productivity and hence of nutritional status, on mortality of children aged 1-15 living in five rural parishes in southern Sweden, 1850-1914.

Methods
Using longitudinal demographic data combined with unique geographic micro-data on residential histories, the effect of soil type on the mortality risks are... (More)
Background
Child mortality differed greatly within rural regions in Europe before and during the mortality decline. Not much is known about the role of nutrition in such geographic differences, and about the factors affecting the nutritional level and hence the resistance to diseases.

Objective
Focusing on nutrition, we analyse the effects of soil type, used as an indicator of the farm-level agricultural productivity and hence of nutritional status, on mortality of children aged 1-15 living in five rural parishes in southern Sweden, 1850-1914.

Methods
Using longitudinal demographic data combined with unique geographic micro-data on residential histories, the effect of soil type on the mortality risks are analysed considering as outcome all-cause mortality and mortality from non-airborne and airborne infectious diseases.

Results
Soil type primarily affected the mortality of farmers’ children, but not labourers’ children. Particularly, farmers’ children residing in areas with very high proportions of clayey till (75-100% coverage) experienced lower risks of dying compared to children residing in areas with other soil types such as clay and sandy soils.

Conclusions
Certain soil types seem to have influenced the agricultural productivity, which, in turn, affected the nutrition of the farmers’ children and thus their likelihood of dying. The results indicate a relatively important role of nutrition as a mortality predictor for these children.

Contribution
As, to our knowledge, the first longitudinal study on the micro-level that analyses the effects of soil type on mortality in a historical rural society, we contribute to the literature on the role of nutrition on the risk of dying in a pre-industrial society.
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Working Paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
child mortality, geographic context variables, GIS, historical demography, soil quality, southern Sweden, J10, N5, N9
in
Lund Papers in Economic History. Population Economics
issue
2016:148
pages
44 pages
publisher
Department of Economic History, Lund University
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
6ed98c50-370d-4a64-9e4a-29b543569e68
date added to LUP
2016-09-21 09:38:15
date last changed
2016-10-04 09:14:28
@misc{6ed98c50-370d-4a64-9e4a-29b543569e68,
  abstract     = {Background<br/>Child mortality differed greatly within rural regions in Europe before and during the mortality decline. Not much is known about the role of nutrition in such geographic differences, and about the factors affecting the nutritional level and hence the resistance to diseases.<br/><br/>Objective<br/>Focusing on nutrition, we analyse the effects of soil type, used as an indicator of the farm-level agricultural productivity and hence of nutritional status, on mortality of children aged 1-15 living in five rural parishes in southern Sweden, 1850-1914.<br/><br/>Methods<br/>Using longitudinal demographic data combined with unique geographic micro-data on residential histories, the effect of soil type on the mortality risks are analysed considering as outcome all-cause mortality and mortality from non-airborne and airborne infectious diseases.<br/><br/>Results<br/>Soil type primarily affected the mortality of farmers’ children, but not labourers’ children. Particularly, farmers’ children residing in areas with very high proportions of clayey till (75-100% coverage) experienced lower risks of dying compared to children residing in areas with other soil types such as clay and sandy soils.<br/><br/>Conclusions<br/>Certain soil types seem to have influenced the agricultural productivity, which, in turn, affected the nutrition of the farmers’ children and thus their likelihood of dying. The results indicate a relatively important role of nutrition as a mortality predictor for these children.<br/><br/>Contribution<br/>As, to our knowledge, the first longitudinal study on the micro-level that analyses the effects of soil type on mortality in a historical rural society, we contribute to the literature on the role of nutrition on the risk of dying in a pre-industrial society.<br/>},
  author       = {Hedefalk, Finn and Quaranta, Luciana and Bengtsson, Tommy},
  keyword      = {child mortality,geographic context variables,GIS,historical demography,soil quality,southern Sweden,J10,N5,N9},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2016:148},
  pages        = {44},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xb5167f8)},
  series       = {Lund Papers in Economic History. Population Economics},
  title        = {Unequal lands: Soil type, nutrition and child mortality in southern Sweden, 1850-1914},
  year         = {2016},
}