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Urbanization, Mortality, and the Standard of Living Debate: New Estimates of the Expectation of Life at Birth in Nineteenth‐century British Cities

Urbanization, Mortality, and the Standard of Living Debate: New Estimates of the Expectation of... standard of living debate has been conducted throughout the last 40 absence of T he modern years predominantly inofthethe mortalityany direct, detailed, and empirically based consideration experience of the British working population during the industrial revolution era.2 This is somewhat surprising in that, when setting out the basis for a ‘pessimistic’ view in his seminal contribution to the debate of 1957, Hobsbawm gave pride of place to evidence bearing on mortality and health, which he envisaged as ideally including ‘mortality rates . . . morbidity rates and anthropometric data’.3 The last category of evidence, in particular, has certainly been brought into the debate with great ingenuity and to great effect during the past 10 years, as will be considered below. But where the study of mortality in British towns and cities is concerned, Armstrong’s valuable work on Carlisle has remained until very recently a lone contribution; and even now, with the addition of Huck’s work, information is available on only a handful of small towns.4 This is almost certainly because of the relative paucity and inaccessibility of reliable, relevant demographic evidence for this particular period, the ‘dark age’ of Britain’s modern historical demography, 1780-1850. As a result, the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Economic History Review Wiley

Urbanization, Mortality, and the Standard of Living Debate: New Estimates of the Expectation of Life at Birth in Nineteenth‐century British Cities

Economic History Review , Volume 51 (1) – Feb 1, 1998

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References (48)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1998 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0013-0117
eISSN
1468-0289
DOI
10.1111/1468-0289.00084
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

standard of living debate has been conducted throughout the last 40 absence of T he modern years predominantly inofthethe mortalityany direct, detailed, and empirically based consideration experience of the British working population during the industrial revolution era.2 This is somewhat surprising in that, when setting out the basis for a ‘pessimistic’ view in his seminal contribution to the debate of 1957, Hobsbawm gave pride of place to evidence bearing on mortality and health, which he envisaged as ideally including ‘mortality rates . . . morbidity rates and anthropometric data’.3 The last category of evidence, in particular, has certainly been brought into the debate with great ingenuity and to great effect during the past 10 years, as will be considered below. But where the study of mortality in British towns and cities is concerned, Armstrong’s valuable work on Carlisle has remained until very recently a lone contribution; and even now, with the addition of Huck’s work, information is available on only a handful of small towns.4 This is almost certainly because of the relative paucity and inaccessibility of reliable, relevant demographic evidence for this particular period, the ‘dark age’ of Britain’s modern historical demography, 1780-1850. As a result, the

Journal

Economic History ReviewWiley

Published: Feb 1, 1998

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