Network Measures of Social Structure in a Historical Population

Julia Jennings , University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)

The measurement of social structure in historical populations is complicated by data availability and completeness. Occupations were often only listed for working age males, while observations of wages or other measures of income, such as tax records, vary in coverage both between and within communities. Indicators of educational attainment and literacy can also be limited. This study develops a method to measure social structure in a historical demographic dataset that relies on a network approach. Position within marriage and servant networks are used as proxies for social status using data from 19th century Orkney, Scotland. To evaluate the use of this approach, network position is used as a predictor of child mortality and fertility timing responses to short term economic stress, two outcomes known to vary by social status in historical European populations.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 3. Population, Development, & the Environment; Data & Methods; Applied Demography