Unequal lifetimes: An example of infant and child survival in the past

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Abstract

In human populations, there is a strong negative association between life expectancy and the level of lifespan inequality (Smiths and Monden 2009; Vaupel et al. 2011). The distribution of lifespans is affected by several variables at different levels of aggregation, which may not have the same impact on all age-groups. Thus, besides individual frailty (Vaupel et al. 1979), access to clean water in the community and breastfeeding practices within the family are decisive for survival at the youngest ages. Some studies (Zaba and David 1996; Edvinsson et al. 2005; Bengtsson and Dribe 2010; Willführ and Gagnon 2012) have shown that in historical as well as in some contemporary populations infant and child deaths are concentrated in a reduced number of families.
This study aims to explore the distribution of infant and child deaths at different levels of aggregation in an historical population, namely France during the 18th and the 19th centuries. The results show that total inequality in the distribution of lifespans has decreased as life expectancy has risen.
In the past, most of the inequalities in the distribution of lifespans were due to mortality in the youngest age-groups. Excess urban mortality was a major source of inequalities in the distribution of lifespans. At the micro-level, infant and child deaths were unequally distributed among women. Heterogeneity between the mothers concerning their infant-care practices was possibly an important source of differentials in infant mortality. Today, most of the inequalities in the distribution of lifespans are due to heterogeneity in the ages at death within the oldest age-groups.


Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventEuropean Population Conference - Mainz, Germany
Duration: 31. Aug 20163. Sep 2016

Conference

ConferenceEuropean Population Conference
CountryGermany
CityMainz
Period31/08/201603/09/2016

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life expectancy
breastfeeding
mortality
infant mortality
infant
distribution
water
family
young
woman
human population

Cite this

@conference{d615a5cb92b94226b4da6ad622ef8951,
title = "Unequal lifetimes: An example of infant and child survival in the past",
abstract = "In human populations, there is a strong negative association between life expectancy and the level of lifespan inequality (Smiths and Monden 2009; Vaupel et al. 2011). The distribution of lifespans is affected by several variables at different levels of aggregation, which may not have the same impact on all age-groups. Thus, besides individual frailty (Vaupel et al. 1979), access to clean water in the community and breastfeeding practices within the family are decisive for survival at the youngest ages. Some studies (Zaba and David 1996; Edvinsson et al. 2005; Bengtsson and Dribe 2010; Willf{\"u}hr and Gagnon 2012) have shown that in historical as well as in some contemporary populations infant and child deaths are concentrated in a reduced number of families.This study aims to explore the distribution of infant and child deaths at different levels of aggregation in an historical population, namely France during the 18th and the 19th centuries. The results show that total inequality in the distribution of lifespans has decreased as life expectancy has risen. In the past, most of the inequalities in the distribution of lifespans were due to mortality in the youngest age-groups. Excess urban mortality was a major source of inequalities in the distribution of lifespans. At the micro-level, infant and child deaths were unequally distributed among women. Heterogeneity between the mothers concerning their infant-care practices was possibly an important source of differentials in infant mortality. Today, most of the inequalities in the distribution of lifespans are due to heterogeneity in the ages at death within the oldest age-groups.",
author = "Catalina Torres and James oeppen and Rune Jacobsen and Vaupel, {James W.}",
year = "2016",
language = "English",
note = "European Population Conference ; Conference date: 31-08-2016 Through 03-09-2016",

}

Torres, C, oeppen, J, Jacobsen, R & Vaupel, JW 2016, 'Unequal lifetimes: An example of infant and child survival in the past', European Population Conference, Mainz, Germany, 31/08/2016 - 03/09/2016.

Unequal lifetimes: An example of infant and child survival in the past. / Torres, Catalina; oeppen, James; Jacobsen, Rune; Vaupel, James W. .

2016. Abstract from European Population Conference, Mainz, Germany.

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

TY - ABST

T1 - Unequal lifetimes: An example of infant and child survival in the past

AU - Torres, Catalina

AU - oeppen, James

AU - Jacobsen, Rune

AU - Vaupel, James W.

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - In human populations, there is a strong negative association between life expectancy and the level of lifespan inequality (Smiths and Monden 2009; Vaupel et al. 2011). The distribution of lifespans is affected by several variables at different levels of aggregation, which may not have the same impact on all age-groups. Thus, besides individual frailty (Vaupel et al. 1979), access to clean water in the community and breastfeeding practices within the family are decisive for survival at the youngest ages. Some studies (Zaba and David 1996; Edvinsson et al. 2005; Bengtsson and Dribe 2010; Willführ and Gagnon 2012) have shown that in historical as well as in some contemporary populations infant and child deaths are concentrated in a reduced number of families.This study aims to explore the distribution of infant and child deaths at different levels of aggregation in an historical population, namely France during the 18th and the 19th centuries. The results show that total inequality in the distribution of lifespans has decreased as life expectancy has risen. In the past, most of the inequalities in the distribution of lifespans were due to mortality in the youngest age-groups. Excess urban mortality was a major source of inequalities in the distribution of lifespans. At the micro-level, infant and child deaths were unequally distributed among women. Heterogeneity between the mothers concerning their infant-care practices was possibly an important source of differentials in infant mortality. Today, most of the inequalities in the distribution of lifespans are due to heterogeneity in the ages at death within the oldest age-groups.

AB - In human populations, there is a strong negative association between life expectancy and the level of lifespan inequality (Smiths and Monden 2009; Vaupel et al. 2011). The distribution of lifespans is affected by several variables at different levels of aggregation, which may not have the same impact on all age-groups. Thus, besides individual frailty (Vaupel et al. 1979), access to clean water in the community and breastfeeding practices within the family are decisive for survival at the youngest ages. Some studies (Zaba and David 1996; Edvinsson et al. 2005; Bengtsson and Dribe 2010; Willführ and Gagnon 2012) have shown that in historical as well as in some contemporary populations infant and child deaths are concentrated in a reduced number of families.This study aims to explore the distribution of infant and child deaths at different levels of aggregation in an historical population, namely France during the 18th and the 19th centuries. The results show that total inequality in the distribution of lifespans has decreased as life expectancy has risen. In the past, most of the inequalities in the distribution of lifespans were due to mortality in the youngest age-groups. Excess urban mortality was a major source of inequalities in the distribution of lifespans. At the micro-level, infant and child deaths were unequally distributed among women. Heterogeneity between the mothers concerning their infant-care practices was possibly an important source of differentials in infant mortality. Today, most of the inequalities in the distribution of lifespans are due to heterogeneity in the ages at death within the oldest age-groups.

M3 - Conference abstract for conference

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