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Disease, febrile poisons, and statistics: The census as a medical survey, 1841-1911

Higgs, E (1991) 'Disease, febrile poisons, and statistics: The census as a medical survey, 1841-1911.' Social History of Medicine, 4 (3). 465 - 478. ISSN 0951-631X

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Summary: Historians have tended to treat the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century censuses of England and Wales as social and economic surveys. In this paper it is argued that they should be seen as part of the General Register Office's overall project of data gathering for the purposes of medical and sanitary research. The populations of defined administrative areas were required for calculating rates search. the populations of defined administraticve areas were required for calculating rates of mortality per thousand. Information on family structure, marital condition, age, sex, and birthplace were used to construct life-tables for insurance purposes, and to study the factors leading to the insanitary overcrowding of cities. Even the classification of occupations was based on a medical model for the purpose of studying the effect of work with particular materials on health. This creates problens for those who wish to use this data for measuring sectoral labour inputs into the economy over time. © 1991 The Society for the Social History of Medicine.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2011 14:26
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2019 16:22

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