Social Differences in Infant Mortality in the 19th Century
Michael Mühlichen has presented a study on the historical development of infant mortality in the Hanseatic City of Rostock at the 2nd conference of the European Society for Historical Demography on 22 September 2016 in Leuven, Belgium. He focussed especially on the question of how socio-economic factors influenced the risk of infant mortality in the 19th century.
Compared with the rest of Germany, the city exhibited an exceedingly low infant mortality level, in particular in the first third of the century. Using methods of event history analysis based on Rostock church records as a data basis (N=2,768 infants, 331 infant deaths, years 1815-1829), his analyses show that the occupation of the father had a significant influence on the survival probability of a child in the first year of life in the early 19th century. Newborn children of fathers in lower ranked occupations exhibited a greater mortality risk in the first year of life than the offspring of fathers with occupations of higher status. Regarding causes of death, logistic regression analyses (N=8,319 infant deaths, years 1787-1910) show that socio-economic differences in infant mortality were strongly connected to digestive diseases whereas other diseases were more related to seasonality. Thus, social class only mattered when it had a significant impact on the quality of nutrition and hygiene.
Michael Mühlichen, Rembrandt D. Scholz, Gabriele Doblhammer (2015): Social Differences in Infant Mortality in 19th Century Rostock. A Demographic Analysis Based on Church Records. In: Comparative Population Studies 40,2: 191-216