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The physical stature of Jewish men in Poland in the second half of the 19th century


  • Kopczynski, Michal


Since 1843 Jews inhabiting the Kingdom of Poland were obliged to serve in the Russian army and therefore were examined by draft boards on a par with Christians. We explore the trends in the height of recruits by religion and place of birth. Basing on samples drawn from 21-year-old conscripts born between 1845 and 1892 we find that Jewish conscripts were shorter than the Christians by 2.5Â cm at the beginning of the period under scrutiny and the difference exceeded 4Â cm in the 1890s. The height of Jewish conscripts inhabiting provincial towns declined in the late 1880s and in the early 1890s was about the same as in the 1840s, i.e. 161Â cm. The socioeconomic crisis of provincial towns caused a massive migration to Warsaw and abroad as well. In the 1870s the stature of Warsaw and provincial Jews was similar, but in the early 1890s men from Warsaw were by 2Â cm taller than provincial Jews. The height gap mirrors the difference in the standard of living between Warsaw and provincial towns.

Suggested Citation

  • Kopczynski, Michal, 2011. "The physical stature of Jewish men in Poland in the second half of the 19th century," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 203-210, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:9:y:2011:i:2:p:203-210

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Komlos, 2007. "Anthropometric evidence on economic growth, biological well-being and regional convergence in the Habsburg Monarchy, c. 1850–1910," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 1(3), pages 211-237, October.
    2. John Komlos, 1989. "Nutrition and Economic Development in the Eighteenth-Century Habsburg Monarchy: An Anthropometric History," Books by John Komlos, Department of Economics, University of Munich, number 2.
    3. Cole, T. J., 2003. "The secular trend in human physical growth: a biological view," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 161-168, June.
    4. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
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