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Les mort-nés à Paris au XIXe siècle : enjeux sociaux, juridiques et médicaux d'une catégorie statistique


  • Vincent Gourdon
  • Catherine Rollet


In the nineteenth century, the stillbirth rate in Paris was higher than in the rest of France, representing almost one birth in ten at the end of the century. These data, provided by the statistical institutions, reflect the difficulty of defining the category of stillbirths, located at the boundary between life and death, and subject to conflicting social viewpoints. After reviewing the legislation under the Ancien Régime and the Revolution, this article shows the confusion that prevailed after 1806 in the definitions used in the recording of stillbirths due to multiple pressures exerted by the different ministries, which in turn reflected the contradictory views held by the judicial system and by statisticians. For a long time, this confusion made it impossible to distinguish between ?true stillbirths? and ?false stillbirths?. Moreover, two factors increased the stillbirth rate in Paris: the early introduction of medical verification of births and deaths that occurred in the home, which improved the recording of stillbirths; and an obsessive fear of criminal abortions, which led to stricter monitoring of miscarriages, and to the recording of foetuses as stillbirths at ever earlier gestational ages.

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  • Vincent Gourdon & Catherine Rollet, 2009. "Les mort-nés à Paris au XIXe siècle : enjeux sociaux, juridiques et médicaux d'une catégorie statistique," Population (french edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 64(4), pages 687-722.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:popine:popu_904_0687

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Susan Ettner, 1995. "The impact of “parent care” on female labor supply decisions," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(1), pages 63-80, February.
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    6. Duée, Michel & Rebillard, Cyril & Pennec, Sophie, 2005. "Les personnes dépendantes en France : Evolution et prise en charge
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    7. Spieß, Christa Katharina & Schneider, A. Ulrike, 2003. "Interactions between care-giving and paid work hours among European midlife women, 1994 to 1996," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 41-68.
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