United States Census of Mortality: 1850, 1860, and 1870

Resource Type
Dataset : medical records data
  • Fogel, Robert W. (University of Chicago. Center for Population Economics)
  • Ferrie, Joseph (University of Chicago. Center for Population Economics)
  • Costa, Dora (University of Chicago. Center for Population Economics)
  • Karlan, Dean S. (University of Chicago. Center for Population Economics)
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health
  • National Science Foundation
Free Keywords
American Civil War; causes of death; disease; environmental impact; health problems; health status; males; military service; mortality rates; Union Army; White Americans
  • Abstract

    This data collection is a portion of the historical data collected by the project, "Early Indicators of Later Work Levels, Disease, and Death," which is collecting military, medical, and socioeconomic data on a sample of white males mustered into the Union Army during the Civil War. During 1850, 1860, and 1870, mortality information was gathered at the county level as an addendum to the population census. These data examine the impact of environmental factors on life outcomes and look at the influence of infectious disease rates on economic and health patterns at late ages. Part 1, Disease Data, looks at cause of death from 66 disease classifications. Part 2, General Disease Data, also examines cause of death but through 18 broad disease categories. Variables included in both parts are state, county, year of death, and frequency of death by disease.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: Disease Data
    • DS2: General Disease Data
Temporal Coverage
  • Collection date: 1998
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
All deaths in the year prior to the taking of the census in 1850, 1860, and 1870.
Individuals who died in a household in which somebody survived were included.
Collection Mode
  • (1) These files represent a storage format sometimes referred to as a weighted analysis file. The data are organized with one record for each county/year/disease permutation (in the event that no one died in that county/year/disease, no record is created). For each such permutation, the frequency variable contains the number of individuals who died in the county/year of that disease. (2) Questions regarding the use of these data should be directed to Peter Viechnicki at the University of Chicago (peterv@cpe.uchicago.edu).

2006-03-30 File CB2526.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions. Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health (NIH PO1 AG10120). National Science Foundation (NSF SBR 9114981).
This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 2526 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
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  • Costa, Dora L., Steckel, Richard H.. Long-term trends in health, welfare, and economic growth in the United States. Health and Welfare During Industrialization.Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. 1997.
  • Lee, Chulhee. Long-term unemployment and retirement in early-twentieth-century America. Journal of Economic History.58, (3), 844-856.1988.
    • ID: 10.1017/S0022050700021203 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15