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Early-life conditions, social mobility and longevity (ESM)

The project 'Early Life Conditions, Social Mobility and Longevity' (ESM) is an international project, supervised by prof. George Alter (Indiana University, Bloomington), and for the main part financed by the National Institute of Aging (National Institute of Health, Washington D.C.). The Dutch part is carried out by dr. F.W.A. van Poppel, from the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI). The cooperation with the HSN consists of building the database 'Inequality and longevity from a life-course perspective: the Netherlands 1850-2000'.

Based on this database the long-term effects of social, economical and familial conditions during childhood on mortality in later life will be studied. Using population registers, personal cards and records of the civil registration, life courses and family compositions will be reconstructed for about 7000 children, born between 1850-1922 in the provinces of Utrecht, Zeeland and Friesland. Context variables, like the regional level of water supplies, mortality and family income, are also part of the analysis.

In the year 2003 most attention was focused on data gathering of all three provinces. Data of Zeeland and Utrecht was entered. In April 2003, the first dataset of Tholen and Zeeuws-Vlaanderen was released. In an article by Van Poppel and Mandemakers childhood mortality was studied (Bevolking en Gezin, 'Sociaal-economische verschillen in zuigelingen- en kindersterfte in Nederland, 1812-1912'). Also, Frans van Poppel and Aart Liefbroer presented their first results 'Family structure and socio-economic position: survival effects in later life. First results of the Historical Sample of the Netherlands' at the conference Early life conditions and longevity: reconstructing lives from cradle to grave in Geneva (12-14 June 2003).

In April 2004, the same lecture was presented at a conference of the Population Association of America in Boston and also in December 2004, at the autumn meeting of the historical circle of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Demographie. At the Social Science History Conference in Chicago, a comparing paper with results of the Dutch, Belgium and Swedish datasets was presented.

In 2005, two papers based on ESM-data were published. First in the Economic History Review, the paper entitled 'Differential infant and child mortality in three Dutch provinces, 1812-1909' was published by Frans van Poppel, Marianne Jonker and Kees Mandemakers. In the journal Historical Social Research, the paper 'Living conditions during childhood and survival in later life - Study design and first results' was published. Furthermore, research results were presented at six conferences during the year 2005, for instance on the IUSSP and University of Utah Conference 'Kinship and Demographic behaviour' and the 30th Social Science History Conference.

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