Population, Health and Nutrition in Spain (18th-20th Centuries)

Antonio D. Cámara, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Mortality and stature trends in Spain have been divergent with respect to some neighbor countries until the last decades of the 20th century. Once the economic trajectory of the country since the 18th century has been reviewed in a less pessimistic perspective, the interpretation of such trends becomes even more interesting as they reflect a well-known paradox. In this paper a comprehensive and dynamic background of the biological living standards between the 18th and 20th century, including demographic, socioeconomic and institutional variables is drawn. Nominative data on mortality and height from two southern-Spain communities have been collected and linked to information on households from local censuses and other archival sources. The results reveal a relation between downward cycles in nutritional status and increasing social inequality, particularly during the central decades of the 19th century matching a population growth process within the context of a still pre-industrial economy.

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Presented in Poster Session 3