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Contrasts in Vital Rates: Madras and Punjab in the Colonial Period


  • Osamu Saito
  • Mihoko Takahama
  • Ryuichi Kaneko


It is well known that there have been persistent differences in demographic rates between northern and southern areas in post-independence India: in the north marital fertility is higher, infant mortality higher and life expectancy shorter than in the south. As Tim Dyson has shown for infant mortality, this probably has pre-independence origins. In this paper the post-WWII contrasts in demographic performances between north and south India will be traced back to the colonial period. By choosing Madras and Punjab, by selecting districts whose registration statistics are reasonably usable in each province (Madras: Coimbatore, Salem, North Arcot, South Arcot, and Tilnelvelli; Punjab: Gurdaspur, Jallundur, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Ferozepore, and Ambala, Karnal and Rohtak), and then by adopting W. Brass's relational Gompertz fertility model, logit life-table system and growth balance method, as exemplified by Dyson's seminal work on Berar, we estimate annual series of e0 and TFR for both provinces. The series clearly show that even in the colonial period both fertility and mortality were higher in the north than in the south, which will have wider implications in historical contexts.

Suggested Citation

  • Osamu Saito & Mihoko Takahama & Ryuichi Kaneko, 2005. "Contrasts in Vital Rates: Madras and Punjab in the Colonial Period," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d04-68, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hst:hstdps:d04-68

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    Cited by:

    1. Bishnupriya Gupta, 2014. "Where have all the brides gone? Son preference and marriage in India over the twentieth century," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(1), pages 1-24, February.

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