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A quantile approach to the demographic, residential, and socioeconomic effects on 19th-century African-American body mass index values


  • Scott Alan Carson

    () (University of Texas, Permian Basin, Austin, TX, USA)


Little research exists on the body mass index values of late 19th- and early 20th-century African-Americans. Using a new BMI data set and robust statistics, this paper demonstrates that darker complexioned black BMIs were greater than for mulattos, and a mulatto BMI advantage did not exist. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, black BMIs decreased across the BMI distribution, indicating that the 20th-century increase in black BMIs did not have its origin in the 19th century. During industrialization, black BMIs were lower in Kentucky, Missouri, and urban Philadelphia. Late 19th- and early 20th-century black BMIs were related to occupations, and farmers had heavier BMIs than workers in other occupations.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott Alan Carson, 2012. "A quantile approach to the demographic, residential, and socioeconomic effects on 19th-century African-American body mass index values," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(2), pages 193-209, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:6:y:2012:i:2:p:193-209

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    Cited by:

    1. Scott Carson, 2015. "A Weighty Issue: Diminished Net Nutrition Among the U.S. Working Class in the Nineteenth Century," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(3), pages 945-966, June.

    More about this item


    Nineteenth-century US economic development; Body mass index; 19th-century race relations;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913


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