ICPSR researcher publishes article on mortality and wealth

Susan Hautaniemi Leonard, an assistant research scientist at ICPSR, has published an article titled "Immigration, Wealth and the 'Mortality Plateau' in Emergent Urban-Industrial Cities of Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts" in the current issue of the journal Continuity and Change.

The article, written with co-authors Jeffrey Beemer of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Douglas Anderton of the University of South Carolina, proposes a hypothesis of the mortality transition in nineteenth-century New England focused on the impact of family wealth and immigration on individual-level mortality. This hypothesis is in contrast to earlier theories that propose a more uniform mortality transition.

The paper uses linked census and tax data from two cities in Massachusetts for the period 1850 to 1910, created by the Connecticut Valley Historical Demography Project with funding from NIH and NSF. These data allow comparisons of wealth as recorded on the census and as reported to the tax collector. The authors find an inverse relationship between wealth and mortality, mediated by migration considered at the individual, family, and community levels.

Continuity and Change, a journal of social structure, law and demography in past societies, is published by Cambridge Journals.