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Bengtsson, Magdalena
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Bengtsson, M. (1996). Det hotade barnet: Tre generationers spädbarns- och barnadödlighet i 1800-talets Linköping. (Doctoral dissertation). Linköping: Linköpings universitet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Det hotade barnet: Tre generationers spädbarns- och barnadödlighet i 1800-talets Linköping
1996 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
The child at risk : Infant and child mortality in three generations in 19th century Linköping
Abstract [en]

This study deals with the decline in infant and child mortality in Sweden during the 19th century. Around 1800 about a quarter of all children died before the age of one and 100 years later the proportion had been reduced to one tenth. The purpose of this study has been to investigate infant and child mortality in three birth cohorts, consisting of all children born in Linköping in the following periods: 1797-1810, 1840-49 and 1870-75. Mortality has been analysed with regard to age, sex, legitimacy and class. The main focus is upon certain family-specific factors, such as the survival of siblings, parental deprivation and spread of disease within the family.

The results show that mortality in ages 0-4 markedly decreased from the first to the second cohort, while the situation had deteriorated in the third cohort, mainly due to an increase in epidemic diseases such as smallpox, scarlet fever and diphtheria. The improvement from cohort 1 to 2 was caused by reduced mortality in respiratory infections and sudden death. Mortality figures for those over five years of age were relatively stable throughout the cohorts. The mortality decline was earlier and more rapid in the upper middle class and was already evident in the first cohort. In the lower middle class and the working class mortality decreased from the first to the second cohort. Illegitimate infants experienced the highest mortality in all cohorts, although these children were better off if they had access to a social network, i.e. resided with grandparents or other relatives. Maternal care was important, a fact illustrated by increased mortality among infants who lost their mothers at an early age. Infants with surviving siblings showed much lower mortality than those with deceased siblings. This correlation was visible regardless of class or legitimacy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet, 1996. p. 383
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 145
infant mortality, child mortality, family history, 19th century, urban mortality, historical demography, Sweden
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-35056 (URN)24731 (Local ID)91-7871-817-1 (ISBN)24731 (Archive number)24731 (OAI)
Public defence
1996-09-13, Sal Elysion, Hus-T, Universitetsområdet Valla, Linköping, 10:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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