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Historical Urban Ecological Data, 1830-1930

Resource Type
Dataset : geographic information system (GIS) data
  • Costa, Dora L (University of California-Los Angeles, and National Bureau of Economic Research)
  • Fogel, Robert W (University of Chicago, and National Bureau of Economic Research)
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging
Free Keywords
aging; crime; death records; disease; environment; geographic information systems; health; historical data; morbidity; mortality rates; urban areas
  • Abstract

    The Historical Urban Ecological (HUE) data project was created for exploring and analyzing the urban health environments of seven major United States cities - Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cincinnati, Manhattan, and Philidelphia - from 1830 through 1930. The data for each city includes ward boundary changes, street networks, and ward-level data on disease, mortality, crime, and other variables reported by municipal departments. The HUE data set was produced for the "Early Indicators of Later Work Levels, Disease and Death" project, funded by the National Institute of Aging. This collection represents the GIS data for each of the seven American cities, and in addition to ward boundary changes and street networks, includes in-street sewer and water sanitation systems coverage. All cities except Cincinnati include sanitation infrastructure data, and for Baltimore only water infrastructure is available. The city of Chicago includes supplemental GIS layers which reflect a reconstruction of two of Homer Hoyt's maps of average land value (1933 dollars) in the City of Chicago for 1873 and 1892. The square mile areas defined by Hoyt using Chicago's system of mile streets have been fit to the HUE street centerlines for Chicago. The Excel data tables include information about deaths in each ward broken down by cause of death, age, race, gender, as well as information about live births and deliveries.
  • Abstract

    To analyze the effects of intra-urban health disparities and public health interventions on individual mortality and longevity as observed through the Union Army and United States Colored Troops cohorts.
  • Methods

    No weights are present in the collection.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: Baltimore GIS: Wards, Streets, Sanitation
    • DS2: Boston GIS: Wards, Streets, Sanitation
    • DS3: Brooklyn GIS: Wards, Streets, Sanitation
    • DS4: Chicago GIS: Wards, Streets, Sanitation, Homer Hoyt Land Values
    • DS5: Cincinnati GIS: Wards, Streets
    • DS6: Manhattan GIS: Wards, Streets, Sanitation
    • DS7: Philadelphia GIS: Wards, Streets, Sanitation
Temporal Coverage
  • 1830 / 1930
    Time period: 1830--1930
  • 2007 / 2015
    Collection date: 2007--2015
Geographic Coverage
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Brooklyn
  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Illinois
  • Manhattan (New York City)
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New York (state)
  • New York City
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Urban health environments (wards) of Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cincinnati, Manhattan, and Philadelphia. Smallest Geographic Unit: ward
Collection Mode
  • record abstracts

    Users of the HUE data set must abide by the Public Access policy set forth by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    Senior investigators include: Louis Cain (Northwestern University); Hoyt Bleakley (University of Michigan); Chulhee Lee (Seoul National University); Sok Chul Hong (Sogang University). Researchers include: Carlos Villarreal, Brian Bettenhausen, and Eric Hanss from the Center for Population Economics (CPE); Christopher Roudiez, Noelle Yetter (NBER), and Andrea Zemp from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

    ICPSR has created the following spatial data file formats from the deposited GIS files, using ArcCatalog, for ease of use: geodatabase, GeoJSON, and ESRI shapefiles, as well as tab-delimited text files (which do not include spatial references).

    The temporal and horizontal spatial information present in these files is provided for the purposes of statistical analysis and historical spatial referencing only. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made with regard to the accuracy of the spatial, temporal, or attribute accuracy of the data. The HUE data set and GIS shapefiles are for research purposes only and are not suitable for high-precision measurement applications including but not limited to property ownership and transfers, engineering problems, or other uses that might require municipally commissioned survey data or highly accurate measurements of the earth's surface.

    Excel charts were transcribed from city Annual Reports dated 1830-1930, where available. These Excel tables are being distributed exactly as they were obtained from the project web site. Each spreadsheet includes a Source Identification (SID) and Table Identification (TID) number generated by the project to link the chart back to its source document. Complete bibliography information is available upon request, providing the appropriate SID and TID numbers; users should refer to the Union Army Data Early Indicators of Later Work Levels, Disease and Death project Web site for contact information. Please refer to the User's Guide for information on merging the Excel tables with the GIS materials.

    Please visit the Center for Population Economics HUE Data Set Web site for additional information about the Historical Urban Ecological GIS data project, as well as the Union Army Data Early Indicators of Later Work Levels, Disease and Death project Web site.

Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging (P01 AG10120).
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 35617 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR35617.v1
  • Villarreal, Carlos, Bettenhausen, Brian, Hanss, Eric, Hersh, Jonathan. Historical health conditions in major U.S. cities. Historical Methods.47, (2), 67-80.2014.
    • ID: 10.1080/01615440.2013.874005 (DOI)

Update Metadata: 2015-11-16 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2015-11-16

Costa, Dora L; Fogel, Robert W (2015): Historical Urban Ecological Data, 1830-1930. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.