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Dr Alice M Reid BA MSc PhD

Dr Alice M Reid BA MSc PhD

University Lecturer, working with The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure
Director of Studies, Churchill College

Historical demographer, working on fertility, mortality and health in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.



  • 1992-1995: Research Assistant at the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, University of Cambridge
  • 1995-1999: PhD University of Cambridge
  • 1999-2003: Research Fellow at St John's College, University of Cambridge
  • 2003-2014: Senior Research Associate, Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, University of Cambridge
  • 2014-present: Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge


  • BA University of Oxford
  • MSc London School of Economics
  • PhD University of Cambridge


My research has focussed on the social, economic, and environmental influences on infant, early child and maternal mortality, particularly over the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Using a wide variety of demographic, statistical and geographical techniques such as indirect demographic estimation, event history techniques, multivariate hazards modeling, logistic modeling and GIS analysis, I have made significant contributions to the understanding of the influences on mortality, the roles of health personnel and the creation and interpretation of data.

My current research project aims to create new measures of age-specific fertility for small areas and socio-economic groupings in the UK over the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century fertility decline. These will allow new insights into the social and spatial influences on changes in family building patterns and the mutation of behavioural norms.

Research questions:

  • Hazards modelling of the influences on risks of infant and child mortality, including cause-specific mortality.
  • The relative importance of social class and environment in influencing early age mortality.
  • Patterns and prevalence of breast-feeding in early twentieth century England, and how breast-feeding affected mortality and morbidity.
  • Measurement of and variations in maternal mortality.
  • The role of health professionals (doctors, midwives, health visitors) in survival in childbirth, infancy, and early childhood.
  • Health professionals and the registration of causes of death.
  • The influences on stillbirth mortality.
  • Linking and analysis of demographic data.
  • The impact of mobility on the use of retrospective demographic measures.
  • Social and spatial patterns of fertility decline.
  • The effect of migration on fertility and mortality.

Main data sources:

  • Anonymised sample of the 1911 'fertility' census.
  • Notifications of Births registers, containing health visitors' records for individual infants up to the age of five.
  • Longitudinal records created from linked censuses and civil registers for Scotland.
  • 1911 and 1901 census enumerators' books for Belfast, and Belfast street directories.
  • Individual census enumerators' books for the UK, 1851-1911 (I-CeM).


Selected publications

  • Alice Reid, Eilidh Garrett & Simon Szreter (forthcoming 2015), 'Residential mobility and child mortality in early twentieth century Belfast', in New approaches of death in the cities during the health transition, Diego Ramiro, Michel Oris, Lucia Pozzi (eds), Springer.
  • Alice Reid, Eilidh Garrett, Chris Dibben & Lee Williamson (2015), ' 'A confession of ignorance': deaths from old age and deciphering cause of death statistics in Scotland 1855-1949', The History of the Family. doi:10.1080/1081602X.2014.1001768.
  • Chris Galley & Alice Reid (2014), 'Maternal mortality', Local Population Studies 93: 68-78.
  • Allen Kabagenyi , Larissa Jennings, Alice Reid, Gorette Nalwadda, James Ntozi, Lynn Atuyambe (2014), 'Barriers to male involvement in contraceptive uptake and reproductive health services: a qualitative study of men and women's perceptions in two rural districts in Uganda', Reproductive Health 11:21, DOI:10.1186/1742-4755-11-21.
  • Alice Reid & Eilidh Garrett (2012), 'Doctors and the causes of neonatal death in nineteenth century Scotland', Annales de Demographie Historique 2012(1):149-179.
  • Alice Reid (2012), 'Mrs Killer and Dr Crook: birth attendants and birth outcomes in early twentieth century Derbyshire', Medical History, 56(4): 511-530. doi:10.1017/mdh.2012.30. Link to paper.
  • Eilidh Garrett, Alice Reid & Simon Szreter (2012), 'Fertility and child mortality in a household setting: comparative perspectives from UK censuses, 1861-1921', Popolazione e Storia, 2010(2) 59-82.
  • Alice Reid (2012), 'Birth attendants and midwifery practice in early twentieth century Derbyshire', Social History of Medicine, 25(2): 380-399, doi:10.1093/shm/hkr138. Link to paper.
  • Chris Galley, Eilidh Garrett, Ros Davies and Alice Reid (2011b), 'Living same-name siblings and English historical demography: A reply to Peter Razzell', Local Population Studies 87: 70-77.
  • Chris Galley, Eilidh Garrett, Ros Davies and Alice Reid (2011), 'Same-name siblings and British historical demography', Local Population Studies 86: 15-36.
  • Alice Reid, Ros Davies, Andrew Blaikie and Eilidh Garrett (2006), 'Vulnerability among illegitimate children in nineteenth century Scotland', Annales de Demographie Historique no. 111, 2006-1: 89-113.
  • Alice Reid (2006), 'Health visitors and enlightened motherhood', in Infant mortality: a continuing social problem? Eilidh Garrett, Chris Galley, Nicola Shelton and Robert Woods (eds), Ashgate, pp.191-210.
  • Alice Reid, Ros Davies & Eilidh Garrett (2006), 'Nineteenth century Scottish demography from linked censuses and civil registers: a 'sets of related individuals' approach', History & Computing , 14(1+2) 2002 (publ. 2006): 61-86. doi:10.3366/hac.2002.14.1-2.61
  • Alice Reid (2005), 'The influences on the health and mortality of illegitimate children in Derbyshire, 1917-1922', in Illegitimacy in Britain, 1700-1920, Alysa Levene, Thomas Nutt and Samantha Williams, Palgrave.
  • Alice Reid (2005), 'The effects of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic on infant and child health in Derbyshire'. Medical History, 49(1): 29-54. Link to paper.
  • Alice Reid (2004), 'Child care and maternal health: intermediaries between socio-economic and environmental factors and infant and child mortality?' in The Determinants of Infant and Child Mortality in Past European Populations, Marco Breschi and Lucia Pozzi (eds.) Udine, Forum, pp.139-152.
  • Alice Reid (2002), 'Infant feeding and post neonatal mortality in Derbyshire, England, in the early twentieth century'. Population Studies, 56(2): 151-166. Link to paper.
  • Alice Reid (2001), 'Health visitors and child health: did health visitors have an impact?', Annales de Demographie Historique 2001-1: 117-137.
  • Alice Reid (2001), 'Neonatal mortality and stillbirths in Derbyshire in the early twentieth century', Population Studies 55(3): 213-232. Link to paper.
  • Eilidh Garrett, Alice Reid, Kevin Schűrer & Simon Szreter (2001), Changing family size in England and Wales: place, class and demography: 1891-1911, Cambridge University Press.
  • Alice Reid (1997), 'Locality or Class? Spatial and Social Differentials in Infant and Child Mortality in England and Wales, 1895-1911', in The Decline of Infant and Child Mortality: The European Experience: 1750-1990, C.A. Corsini & P.P. Viazzo (eds), Martinus Nijhoff, pp. 129-154.
  • Eilidh Garrett and Alice Reid (1995), 'Thinking of England and Taking Care: Family Building Strategies and Infant Mortality in England and Wales, 1891-1911', International Journal of Population Geography 1, pp.69-102. Link to paper.
  • Eilidh Garrett and Alice Reid (1994), 'Satanic mills, pleasant lands: spatial variation in women's work, fertility and infant mortality as viewed from the 1911 census', Historical Research 67, pp.157-177.


  • Chair of Geographical Tripos 1A/1B Examination Board (2015-2018)
  • Subject Moderator for Geography, Cambridge University Admissions (2012 onwards)
  • Director of Studies in Geography for Churchill College & Fellow of Churchill College (2005 onwards)
  • Geography Tripos part IA: Working with Geographical Databases
  • Geography Tripos part II: Historical Demography

PhD students

  • Lander Bosch, 2017- : On shape and being shaped: the relation between overweight and obesity in London's schoolchildren and the energy-expending characteristics of their built environment. Funding: ESRC DTP.
  • Ellen Potter, 2015- : The influence of social class on English demography in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Wellcome Trust funded.
  • Akanksha Marphatia, 2012-2016: Predictors and consequences of variability in secondary educational attainment in rural India: A life course approach. ESRC funded.
  • Allen Kabagenyi, 2011-2015: High fertility rates in Uganda: is low contraceptive prevalence responsible? Funded by THRiVE, and co-supervised with the University of Makarere, Uganda.

Potential PhD applicants

I would be particularly pleased to hear from potential students wishing to pursue a PhD in historical demography, which is the main focus of my own research. However I also supervise students working on current and recent demography and health geography, and you are welcome to contact me directly if you think we may be a good match.

External activities

  • Editor of the Journal Population Studies (2010 onwards)
  • Member of the Population Investigation Committee (2013 onwards)
  • Chair of Population Investigation Committee Scholarship Committee (2014 onwards)
  • Member of the European Society of Historical Demography Council (2013 onwards)
  • Vice-President of the European Society of Historical Demography (2015 - 2016)
  • President of the European Society of Historical Demography (2017 onwards)
  • Member of the Historical Demography Panel, the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (2014 onwards)
  • Member of Cambridge University Quantitative Methods Initiative (2014 onwards)
  • British Society for Population Studies Council member (1996-2000, 2009-2013)