Volume 36 - Article 1 | Pages 1-40

Socioeconomic and cultural differentials in mortality in a late 19th century urban setting: A linked records study from Tartu, Estonia, 1897-1900

By Hannaliis Jaadla, Allan Puur, Kaja Rahu

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Date received:21 Mar 2016
Date published:03 Jan 2017
Word count:9910
Keywords:education, linked records study, mortality, Poisson regression, socio-economic status
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2017.36.1
 

Abstract

Background: An expanding literature documents historical linkages between socioeconomic and cultural disparities and survival. The evidence originates mainly from studies of Western Europe and North America, but we know less about the history of mortality differentials in other regions.

Objective: This study estimates the mortality level among the Lutheran population of Tartu (1897-1900) and examines its associations with socioeconomic status and ethnicity/language.

Methods: The analysis draws on parish registers, which have been linked to data from the first Russian Imperial census in 1897. In order to investigate the association between the characteristics of the population and mortality risks, Poisson regression models are estimated.

Results: The results show significant inequalities in mortality associated with socioeconomic status. In addition to upper-level non-manual workers, domestic servants were found to have reduced death risks, while small entrepreneurs displayed elevated risks. Surprisingly, the adult mortality advantage associated with upper-level non-manual jobs and advanced education was driven by women. Men in the upper strata of society exhibited no substantial advantage, but a lack of elementary education implied a mortality disadvantage for working-age men. The effect of education did not disappear with the inclusion of occupation and other controls in the models. The analysis revealed no significant difference between ethnic/language groups.

Conclusions: The observed differentials can be seen as manifestations of a divide between forerunners of and laggards in the secular trend towards longer life expectancy. The study makes a case for a comprehensive approach to examining mortality differentials that pays equal attention to the effects of the individual characteristics of men and women.

Contribution: The study contributes to the literature by focusing on an Eastern European context and examining mortality differences associated with occupational group as well as education, which has seldom been done in 19th century settings.

Author's Affiliation

Hannaliis Jaadla - University of Cambridge, United Kingdom [Email]
Allan Puur - Tallinna Ülikool, Estonia [Email]
Kaja Rahu - Tervise Arengu Instituut (National Institute for Health Development), Estonia [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Childbearing among first- and second-generation Russians in Estonia against the background of the sending and host countries
Volume 36 - Article 41

» Partnership dynamics among migrants and their descendants in Estonia
Volume 32 - Article 56

» Varying association between education and second births in Europe: Comparative analysis based on the EU-SILC data
Volume 31 - Article 27

» Jobs, careers, and becoming a parent under state socialist and market conditions: Evidence from Estonia 1971-2006
Volume 30 - Article 64

» Intergenerational family constellations in contemporary Europe: Evidence from the Generations and Gender Survey
Volume 25 - Article 4

» Effects of education on second births before and after societal transition: Evidence from the Estonian GGS
Volume 22 - Article 28

» Reconciling studies of men’s gender attitudes and fertility: Response to Westoff and Higgins
Volume 22 - Article 8

» Men's childbearing desires and views of the male role in Europe at the dawn of the 21st century
Volume 19 - Article 56

» First union formation in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania: patterns across countries and gender
Volume 17 - Article 10

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