The Stature Of The Colombian Elite Before The Onset Of Industrialization, 1870-1919
The average height of Colombian women increased 8.95 cm between 1905 and 1985 and of men 8.96 cm in the same time period. Thus the country was a success story according to international standards in this respect. The information for the adult height of Colombians born between 1905 and 1985 was obtained from a database with more than 9 million observations constructed with the national ID cards. This implies that the results are indicative of what happened to the overall population. For the pre-industrial era in Colombia, which is before the 20th century, information on height is only available from 1870. The source in this case is the records of the passports issued to Colombian citizens, for which we have obtained about 17.000 observations. The analysis of those records for the period 1870-1919 reveals some striking results. In the first place, the long run behavior of height was stable, unlike what is observed with the national ID card records, beginning in 1905, in which case heights were increasing. The group included in the passport records is much taller than those from the ID card. For the period 1905-1909 the average passport height for men was 168.7 cm compared with 162 cm for national ID cards. In the case of women the former had an average height of 158 cm and the later 150 cm.
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