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Height of female Americans in the 19th century and the antebellum puzzle

  • Carson, Scott Alan
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    Using 19th century state prison records, this study contrasts the biological standard of living of comparable US African-American and white females during a period of relatively rapid economic development. White females were consistently taller than black females by about 1.5Â cm (0.6Â in.). Whites from Great Lakes and Plains states and black Southwestern females were the tallest. US females were tall compared to their European counterparts. The height of females began to decline in the antebellum period, possibly before that of males. The recovery of physical stature was also earlier among females than among males. This implies that the biological standard of lower-class men and women did not move in parallel during the onset of modern economic growth. It also implies that the antebellum puzzle was most likely rooted in the endogenous forces of socio-economic change rather than the exogenous changes in the disease environment.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B73DX-51962WD-2/2/70ce7e6b2aa3204a49767b49a505eef0
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (March)
    Pages: 157-164

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:9:y:2011:i:2:p:157-164
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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