Abstract and Keywords
Anthropometric history arose in the 1970s and gained momentum as a supplement to traditional economic measures of the standard of living. he discovery of very large number of measurements of height have allowed social scientists to use heights as a summary measure of health from conception to maturity. Though dominated by genes, individual height is sensitive to diet, work effort, and disease, while income and its distribution affect average height within a population. Among the interesting results from hundreds of studies are (1) Americans were taller than Europeans during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; (2) health declined during the early decades of industrialization in the United States (and elsewhere); (3) children bore the appalling brunt of slavery; (4) Plains Indians were tall during the nineteenth century. The superabundance of height records and surprising new insights into the standard of living bode well for the future of this research.
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