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# Dr Alice Reid elected President of the British Society for Population Studies

Congratulations to Dr Alice Reid who has been elected President of the
British Society for Population Studies.

# The enduring geography of mortality and its social causes

BBC News

"If you had a map of Covid's biggest effects now and a map of child deaths in 1850, they look remarkably similar" said Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer of England and Wales, recently. The BBC interviewed Alice Reid and used data from Populations Past, her interactive website on Victorian and Edwardian population, for a news article on the endurance of patterns in mortality and its social causes.

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# Did industrialisation really raise mortality rates in English cities?

And why is this question so difficult to answer? A new paper by Romola Davenport, published in a special issue on health and industrialisation in the International Journal of Paleopathology, provides a succinct summary of the state of historical knowledge about urban mortality patterns during the Industrial Revolution and highlights where collaborations between archaeologists and historians are vital to new understanding.

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# Census 2021 public engagement podcasts

Alice Reid and Sophy Arulanantham from the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure have teamed up with Year 8s from South Wales to co-produce census-related public engagement material. Check out our podcasts in which year 8s interview census experts. This public engagement project is funded by the AHRC and ESRC in conjunction with The National Archives and the Office for National Statistics.

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# Engaging the public in the Census 2021

Dr Alice Reid and colleagues have been awarded one of 15 projects by the AHRC/ESRC to engage the public in Census 2021. This project will inform KS3 students about the relevance of the Census, provide insight into being a data-driven social scientist and enhance the school curriculum. Using Census returns from the early nineteenth century to the present day, students from South Wales state schools will co-produce school resources that explore aspects of Census taking and Census data.

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# (When) are you going to have children?

An article in the new issue of the Cambridge University research magazine, Horizons, explores decisions about if and when to have children, considering what influences come into play and how these have changed over time. The article brings together research from across the University, featuring Campop member Dr Alice Reid.

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# The Changing Geography of Ill Health

The Chief Medical Officer of the UK Chris Whitty's recent lecture on 25th November on the Geography of Ill Health will be of interest to all geographers, but it is particularly pleasing to see it featuring some maps from our interactive online atlas, Whitty uses the maps to illustrate the fact that the areas with particularly high infant mortality in the past still have high levels of ill health today.

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# Height and health in late eighteenth-century England

'Drawing for the Militia' (sketch, 1847) by John Phillip (1817-1867) Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums (CC-BY-NC)

A new paper by CamPop members Hanna Jaadla, Leigh Shaw-Taylor and Romola Davenport, published Online Early in Population Studies, analyses a very unusual sample of representative data on adult male heights, recorded in militia ballot lists in the county of Dorset in the years 1798 and 1799.

The paper confirms the tall stature of English men relative to other European populations in this period, and reports evidence of a positive social gradient in height. However the gradient was small, and labourers were on average only 2 cm shorter than farmers and gentlemen.

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# Re-introducing the Cambridge Group Family Reconstitutions

A new paper has been published on the Cambridge Group Family Reconstitutions by George Alter, Jim Oeppen and Gill Newton. English Population History from Family Reconstitution 1580–1837 was important both for its scope and its methodology.

The volume was based on data from family reconstitutions of 26 parishes carefully selected to represent 250 years of English demographic history. These data remain relevant for new research questions, such as studying the intergenerational inheritance of fertility and mortality.

To expand their availability, the family reconstitutions have been translated into new formats: a relational database, the Intermediate Data Structure (IDS) and an episode file for fertility analysis. The paper describes that process and examines the impact of methodological decisions on analysis of the data.

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# COVID-19 related information

The history of mortality, infectious diseases and long-term improvements to life expectancy is the focus of a major Wellcome funded project led by Richard Smith and Romola Davenport. Davenport and co-authors have recently published papers on: smallpox, the early history of public health from an evolutionary perspective and mortality and urbanisation.

Leigh Shaw-Taylor has published a beginners' guide to the history of disease, epidemics and long-term improvements to mortality in a special issue of Economic History Review. This is one of three free-to-download special issues on the history of disease published by leading journals on the subject.

Chris Briggs, Romola Davenport, Leigh Shaw-Taylor and Samantha Williams have contributed to podcasts in Chris Clark's History of Now series.

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