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Biological Conditions and Economic Development: Nineteenth-Century Stature on the U.S. Great Plains



Biological Conditions and Economic Development: Nineteenth-Century Stature on the U.S. Great Plains



Human Nature 26(2): 123-142



Average stature is now a well-accepted measure of material and economic well-being in development studies when traditional measures are sparse or unreliable, but little work has been done on the biological conditions for individuals on the nineteenth-century U.S. Great Plains. Records of 14,427 inmates from the Nebraska state prison are used to examine the relationship between stature and economic conditions. Statures of both black and white prisoners in Nebraska increased through time, indicating that biological conditions improved as Nebraska's output market and agricultural sectors developed. The effect of rural environments on stature is illustrated by the fact that farm laborers were taller than common laborers. Urbanization and industrialization had significant impacts on stature, and proximity to trade routes and waterways was inversely related to stature.

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Accession: 057304785

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 26040245

DOI: 10.1007/s12110-015-9231-x


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