A new perspective on the urban penalty – University of Copenhagen

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BioHistory Group > Events > Urban penalty

A new perspective on the urban penalty

Biohistory seminar: The contribution of urban mortality to changes in life expectancy during the 19th Century

Catalina Torres (PhD student, University of Southern Denmark) will present her ongoing doctoral research on the urban penalty in Denmark and Norway during the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

This excess mortality in the cities, commonly referred to as the urban penalty, has been typically identified by significantly higher Crude Death Rate and Infant Mortality Rate but also in life expectancy at birth. And, as computations of life expectancy at the national level are affected by the lower life expectancy of urban areas, it is possible that countries would have had higher life expectancy at birth during at least some periods than we think.

Her work aims to measure the impact of urban mortality to overall changes in life expectancy, by applying a method which decomposes the difference in life expectancy between two periods in the contributions of:

  1. Changes in mortality
  2. Changes in the urban / rural composition of the population