Child and Infant Mortality in 19th Century Hungary from-Micro Perspective: The Impact of Parents’ Widowhood and Remarriage on Their Children’s Survival, a Comparative Analysis

Péter Öri , Hungarian Demographic Research Institute

On the basis of research on pre-modern mortality and marriage, we know well that getting widowed and remarrying happened frequently in pre-modern societies, consequently living in stepfamilies, having stepparents or stepsiblings must have been also common phenomena. At the same time, these events and conditions must have significantly influenced the orphans’ or stepchildren’s survival. Our family reconstitution database of a rural micro-region close to Budapest (the Roman Catholic village of Zsámbék inhabited by 18th century German settlers, and the Hungarian and Calvinist village of Tök), may give a good opportunity to examine these connecting demographic events. The parish records and the surviving census data of a suburb in Budapest (Újlak – Neustift) provide an opportunity for urban-rural comparison as well. In our analysis we are going to focus on the period 1750–1870 (or on the period 1857–1873 in the urban case), which can be doubtlessly regarded as pre-modern or traditional in demographic sense. We will use multivariate statistical method (event history analysis) in order to reveal the link between children’s and young adults’ chances of surviving and their parents’ deaths or remarriages. We will follow individuals from birth up to death or age 15, and in two models we will examine the likelihood of dying among infants and children. Among other variables (sex, period, socio-professional status of fathers, number, sex and age of siblings, etc.) the impact of orphanage or living in stepfamilies will be analysed in this respect.

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 Presented in Session 24. Health and Well-being of the Youngest: Infant and Child Mortality