Volume 36 - Article 15 | Pages 455–500

Disparities in death: Inequality in cause-specific infant and child mortality in Stockholm, 1878‒1926

By Joseph Molitoris

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter

 

 
Date received:08 Aug 2016
Date published:01 Feb 2017
Word count:8123
Keywords:cause of death, health transition, inequality, infant mortality, infectious diseases, mortality decline, public health, socioeconomic status, Sweden
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2017.36.15
 

Abstract

Background: The decline of child mortality during the late 19th century is one of the most significant demographic changes in human history. However, there is evidence suggesting that the substantial reductions in mortality during the era did little to reduce mortality inequality between socioeconomic groups.

Objective: The aim of this study is to examine the development of socioeconomic inequalities in cause-specific infant and child mortality during Stockholm’s demographic transition.

Methods: Using an individual-level longitudinal population register for Stockholm, Sweden, between 1878 and 1926, I estimate Cox proportional hazards models to study how inequality in cause-specific hazards of dying from six categories of causes varied over time. The categories included are 1) airborne and 2) food and waterborne infectious diseases, 3) other infectious diseases, 4) noninfectious diseases and accidents, 5) perinatal causes, and 6) unspecified causes.

Results: The results show that class differentials in nearly all causes of death converged during the demographic transition. The only exception was the airborne infectious disease category, for which the gap between white-collar and unskilled blue-collar workers widened over time.

Conclusions: The results demonstrate that, even in a context of falling mortality and a changing epidemiological environment, higher socioeconomic groups were able to maintain a health advantage for their children by reducing their risks of dying from airborne disease to a greater extent than other groups. Potential explanations for these patterns are suggested, as well as suggestions for future research.

Contribution: This is the first paper to use individual-level cause-of-death data to study the long-term trends in inequality of cause-specific child mortality during the demographic transition.

Author's Affiliation

Joseph Molitoris - Københavns Universitet, Denmark [Email]

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» The geography of early childhood mortality in England and Wales, 1881–1911
Volume 37 - Article 58    | Keywords: infant mortality, mortality decline

» A reversal of the socioeconomic gradient of nuptiality during the Swedish mid-20th-century baby boom
Volume 37 - Article 50    | Keywords: socioeconomic status, Sweden

» Convergences and divergences in mortality: A new approach of health transition
Special Collection 2 - Article 2    | Keywords: cause of death, health transition

» The effects of family and location on wealth: A longitudinal study of the US North, 1850–1870
Volume 38 - Article 59    | Keywords: inequality

» Neighborhoods and mortality in Sweden: Is deprivation best assessed nationally or regionally?
Volume 38 - Article 18    | Keywords: Sweden

Articles

»Volume 36

 

Citations

 

 

Similar Articles

 

 

Jump to Article

Volume Page
Volume Article ID