Health, Height and Welfare: Britain 1700-1980

65 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2000 Last revised: 29 Mar 2021

See all articles by Roderick Floud

Roderick Floud

London Metropolitan University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Bernard Harris

University of Southampton - Division of Sociology & Social Policy

Date Written: May 1996

Abstract

This paper reviews the evidence regarding the main trends in the height of the British population since the early eighteenth century. We argue that the average heights of successive birth cohorts of British males increased slowly between the middle of the eighteenth century and the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Average heights fell during the second quarter of the nineteenth century, before rising from the 1850s onwards. This analysis is supported by an examination of the main trends in children's heights during the twentieth century. Our findings are compared with the results of an alternative method of measuring human welfare - a modified version of the United Nations' Human Development Index. The main trends in human development reinforce the conclusions drawn from our own interpretation of the anthropometric evidence.

Suggested Citation

Floud, Roderick and Harris, Bernard, Health, Height and Welfare: Britain 1700-1980 (May 1996). NBER Working Paper No. h0087, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=225051

Roderick Floud

London Metropolitan University ( email )

London, N7 8HN
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Bernard Harris (Contact Author)

University of Southampton - Division of Sociology & Social Policy ( email )

Southampton SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom
(023) 8059 2567 (Phone)
(023) 8059 3859 (Fax)

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