The biological standard of living and mortality in Central Italy at the beginning of the 19th century
The biological standard of living in Central Italy at the beginning of the 19th century is analyzed using newly collected data on the height of recruits in the army of the Papal States. The results reveal a decline in height for the cohorts born under French rule (1796–1815). Although this trend was common to many parts of Europe, the estimated magnitude of the decline suggests a worsening of the biological standard of living of the working classes in the Papal States even relative to that of other countries. Despite the differences in the economic systems within the Papal States, no significant geographical variation in height has been found: even the most dynamic and advanced regions experienced a dramatic height decline. Mortality also increased during the period under consideration.
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