My project “Long Live the Family – The Rise of Familial Health Advantages in Sweden 1813-2022 has been funded by Crafoordska Stiftelse for 1.8 million SEK (about 170.000 EUR).
The project is motivated by the wide gap in the length of life by socioeconomic status: the social gradient in mortality. In Sweden, this gap in the length of life emerged in about the 1950ies for women and 1970ies for men. Even in the absence of a population-level social gradient in mortality, patterns of health and survival are and were shared in families. Historically, large disparities existed in lifestyle between lower and higher classes, and higher classes in particular had increased risk of lifestyle-related disease related to smoking, drinking and a sedentary lifestyle. In turn, among lower socioeconomic status groups infectious disease mortality may have been relatively higher and persisted longer. Causes of death analyses from historical Sweden confirm this broad picture, but leave open the question when family-shared factors started to contribute to inequalities in mortality. In this project, we identify families with beneficial survival in comparison to the population, and investigate the timing and mechanisms of the emergence of a social gradient in mortality in Sweden. Further, we address how morbidity and mortality in long-lived families are affected by the changing disease environment.
Together with a contribution from the department of Economic History, Crafoordska Stiftelse will fund a four-year PhD position with me at the Centre for Economic Demography / Department of Economic History. Recruitment will start soon and hopefully we’ll recruite a candidate able to start in late August.