Dissertation Research: Patterns of Mortality in Two Nineteenth Century Poorhouses of Western New York
Joyce Sirianni Principal Investigator
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This is a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement award. The project will investigate the relationships between socio-economic status, disease specific mortality, and mortality decline. This will be accomplished through the comparison of demographic variables between the Erie and Niagara County Poorhouses and their respective general populations in western New York state. The data available span nearly one hundred years, allowing for a complete study of mortality from the time these institutions opened in the late 1820's until they ceased to operate in the second decade of the twentieth century. This study will contribute to the research on disease-specific mortality transition and mortality decline by providing insight into a population (the institutionalized poor), which has been largely overlooked in demographic studies. Also, the historic poorhouse records of these two counties provide data to study mortality prior to 1850. This is important because there are few state or nationwide data available to study mortality during the early decades of the nineteenth century. This research is also an important contribution to anthropological demography in that it addresses the issue of socio-economic differences in patterns of disease specific mortality and mortality decline.