The first phase of life in a coastal town of Sardinia (1866-1920)

Massimo Esposito, Università degli Studi di Sassari
Marco Breschi, Università degli Studi di Sassari
Stanislao Mazzoni, Università degli Studi di Sassari
Lucia Pozzi, Università degli Studi di Sassari

In the decades following the National unification mortality rates in the first phase of life showed very different regional trends, even though marked by a generalized considerable reduction. To this respect, the Sardinian experience is particularly interesting: while the mortality rate in the first year of life is generally lower than elsewhere in Italy, it increases in the second year onwards, exceeding the national average and declining slowly in the first half of the 20th century. Many social, economic, cultural and sanitary factors contribute to such a trend, but it is not easy to evaluate their effects on mortality, especially in Sardinia, characterized by relevant territorial differentials. The relationships between mortality, socioeconomic and environmental context in Sardinia are still almost unexplored, if we exclude few studies referring to specific areas of the island. Therefore we propose here an analysis of mortality in Alghero, a coastal town in North West Sardinia. In this work we use a micro-analytical approach, which allows us to reconstruct the life stories of the cohorts born from 1866 to 1920, in order to measure mortality in the first years of life. Combining civil records with other sources available, we will be able to estimate how social and economic conditions of the family as well as short-term changes in context factors influence mortality levels.

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Presented in Session 31: Infant and child mortality and fertility: reproduction in 19th and early 20th century Europe