EDAR seminar with Maria Hiltonen and Johan Junkka.
Infant mortality rates in Europe declined rapidly during the 19th century. However, not all religious groups benefited equally from this development. Religious affiliation has been shown to affect infant survival, and little is known why some religious groups had lower infant mortality than others. Maria Hiltonen and Johan Junkka investigate the relationship between religious affiliation and cause-specific infant mortality.
They use longitudinal parish register data from northern Sweden covering the period 1860-1900, identifying affiliation to a free church or the state church on a family level. Data on death records are coded using the SHiP historical cause-of-death coding system which is based on the ICD-10 coding system. The SHiP system allows for systematic and comparative analyses of historical causes of death while retaining information from historical designations. Using cause-specific mortality, they can estimate and compare infant mortality risks due to different diseases and causes, such as water- and food-borne diseases. Thus, providing a better understanding of the mechanisms causing religious inequalities in infant mortality during the demographic transition.