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Survival in 19th century cities: The larger the city, the smaller your chances

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  • Cain, Louis
  • Hong, Sok Chul

Abstract

Using Union Army veterans' lifetime socioeconomic and health records, this essay finds a consistent and persistent hierarchy in survival rates and hazard ratios by urban size at and across three stages of life: birth, late adolescence, and death. This urban mortality penalty remains after controlling for variables associated with each individual veteran. The results of our geographical mobility analyses suggest that, with respect to these veterans, the search for an explanation should focus on late adolescence and adulthood as much as on early life. A complete explanation of the penalty requires a project of greater scope.

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  • Cain, Louis & Hong, Sok Chul, 2009. "Survival in 19th century cities: The larger the city, the smaller your chances," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 450-463, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:46:y:2009:i:4:p:450-463
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sung Won Kang & Hugh Rockoff, 2007. "After Johnny Came Marching Home: The Political Economy of Veterans' Benefits in the Nineteenth Century," NBER Working Papers 13223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    5. Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1982. "Was the industrial revolution worth it? Disamenities and death in 19th century British towns," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 221-245, July.
    6. Vinovskis, Maris A., 1972. "Mortality Rates and Trends in Massachusetts Before 1860," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(01), pages 184-213, March.
    7. David M. Cutler & Grant Miller, 2006. "Water, Water Everywhere. Municipal Finance and Water Supply in American Cities," NBER Chapters,in: Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's Economic History, pages 153-184 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Meeker, Edward, 1974. "The Social Rate of Return on Investment in Public Health, 1880–1910," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(02), pages 392-421, June.
    9. Hong, Sok Chul, 2007. "The Burden of Early Exposure to Malaria in the United States, 1850–1860: Malnutrition and Immune Disorders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(04), pages 1001-1035, December.
    10. Chulhee Lee, 2003. "Prior Exposure to Disease and Later Health and Mortality. Evidence from Civil War Medical Records," NBER Chapters,in: Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past, pages 51-88 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dora L. Costa, 2015. "Health and the Economy in the United States from 1750 to the Present," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 53(3), pages 503-570, September.
    2. Kesztenbaum, Lionel & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2011. "The health cost of living in a city: The case of France at the end of the 19th century," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 207-225, April.
    3. Tang, John P., 2015. "The Engine And The Reaper: Industrialization And Mortality In Early Modern Japan," RCESR Discussion Paper Series DP15-10, Research Center for Economic and Social Risks, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    4. W. Walker Hanlon, 2015. "Pollution and Mortality in the 19th Century," NBER Working Papers 21647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Dora L. Costa & Heather DeSomer & Eric Hanss & Christopher Roudiez & Sven E. Wilson & Noelle Yetter, 2017. "Union Army veterans, all grown up," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(2), pages 79-95, April.
    6. Kesztenbaum, Lionel & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2017. "Sewers’ diffusion and the decline of mortality: The case of Paris, 1880–1914," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 174-186.
    7. Günther Fink & Isabel Günther & Kenneth Hill, 2014. "Slum Residence and Child Health in Developing Countries," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(4), pages 1175-1197, August.
    8. Lionel Kesztenbaum & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2014. "Income versus Sanitation; Mortality Decline in Paris, 1880-1914," Working Papers halshs-01018594, HAL.
    9. Lionel Kesztenbaum & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2014. "Income versus Sanitation; Mortality Decline in Paris, 1880-1914," PSE Working Papers halshs-01018594, HAL.
    10. Fogel, Robert W. & Cain, Louis & Burton, Joseph & Bettenhausen, Brian, 2013. "Was what ail’d ya what kill’d ya?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 269-280.
    11. Joseph Molitoris, 2017. "Disparities in death: Inequality in cause-specific infant and child mortality in Stockholm, 1878‒1926," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 36(15), pages 455-500, February.
    12. Nandita Saikia & Abhishek Singh & Domantas Jasilionis & Faujdar Ram, 2013. "Explaining the rural-urban gap in infant mortality in India," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 29(18), pages 473-506, September.
    13. Leah Platt Boustan & Devin Bunten & Owen Hearey, 2013. "Urbanization in the United States, 1800-2000," NBER Working Papers 19041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Ramon Ramon-Muñoz & Josep-Maria Ramon-Muñoz, 2015. "Height and Industrialisation in a City in Catalonia during the Nineteenth Century," UB Economics Working Papers 2015/334, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.

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    Keywords

    Urban mortality penalty Cohort analysis Survival rate Hazard ratio Mobility;

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