Socioeconomic and Kinship Factors in Infant and Child Mortality in Historical Slavonia

Aaron Gullickson, Columbia University
Eugene A. Hammel, University of California, Berkeley

This paper extends prior work on the consequences of social, economic, and kinship factors for health in a pre-industrial extended household environment. We use family reconstitution data from seven contiguous Catholic parishes in south central Slavonia c. 1750-1900 to examine the relationship between these factors and infant/child mortality. We postulate that children have lower survival chances when labor for their care is diminished. Both the availability of male labor and the size and the structure of the household female labor pool are important. Where more men and women are available per child, survival should be higher. However, if women other than the mother of a child have competing interests, survival of that mother’s child will not benefit as much. These competing interests will increase as children age and the familial unit approaches the point of fission. We test these hypotheses using a piecewise-constant hazard model of infant and child death.

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Presented in Session 84: Historical Demography