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Social class, social mobility and mortality in the Netherlands, 1850-2004


  • Schenk, Niels
  • van Poppel, Frans


This study uses data from a random sample of births in the Netherlands during the period 1850-1922 to examine the relationships between social class, social mobility and mortality at middle and old age. Population registers and personal cards covering the period from 1850 to 2004 for all Dutch provinces were used to reconstruct individual life histories of 14,900 births. For men we did not find an effect of the social class of origin (using two different SES-classifications) on mortality in age group 18 to 35. We also did not observe an effect of own social class on mortality after age 35. For women effects of social class of origin and social class of husband were generally absent as well. Our conclusion is that the standard ideas about the negative effects of processes of industrialization and urbanization on the duration of life do not seem to apply to the Netherlands. Where one lived mattered more for survival than the social class one belonged to.

Suggested Citation

  • Schenk, Niels & van Poppel, Frans, 2011. "Social class, social mobility and mortality in the Netherlands, 1850-2004," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 401-417, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:48:y:2011:i:3:p:401-417

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2002. "Socioeconomic Status and Health: Why is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," NBER Working Papers 9098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lars Sandberg & Richard H. Steckel, 1997. "Was Industrialization Hazardous to Your Health? Not in Sweden!," NBER Chapters,in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 127-160 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Levin, Jeffrey S., 1994. "Religion and health: Is there an association, is it valid, and is it causal?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 1475-1482, June.
    4. Cambois, Emmanuelle, 2004. "Careers and mortality in France: evidence on how far occupational mobility predicts differentiated risks," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(12), pages 2545-2558, June.
    5. Lundberg, Olle, 1993. "The impact of childhood living conditions on illness and mortality in adulthood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1047-1052, April.
    6. Frans Van Poppel & Marianne Jonker & Kees Mandemakers, 2005. "Differential infant and child mortality in three Dutch regions, 1812-1909 -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 58(2), pages 272-309, May.
    7. Jan Luiten van Zanden & Arthur van Riel, 2004. "Introduction to The Strictures of Inheritance: The Dutch Economy in the Nineteenth Century," Introductory Chapters,in: The Strictures of Inheritance: The Dutch Economy in the Nineteenth Century Princeton University Press.
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