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Socioeconomic mortality differences during the Great Influenza in Spain

Basco, Sergi, Domènech, Jordi and Rosés, Joan R. ORCID: 0000-0003-0661-3134 (2024) Socioeconomic mortality differences during the Great Influenza in Spain. Economics and Human Biology, 52. ISSN 1570-677X

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.ehb.2023.101318


Despite being one of the deadliest viruses in history, there is limited information on the socioeconomic factors that affected mortality rates during the Great Influenza Pandemic. In this study, we use occupation-province level data to investigate the relationship between influenza excess mortality rates and occupation-related status in Spain. We obtain three main results. Firstly, individuals in low-income occupations experienced the highest excess mortality, pointing to a notable income gradient. Secondly, professions that involved more social interaction were associated with a higher excess of mortality, regardless of income. Finally, we observe a substantial rural mortality penalty, even after controlling for income-related occupational groups. Based on this evidence, it seems that the high number of deaths was caused by not self-isolating. Some individuals did not quarantine themselves because they could not afford to miss work. In rural areas, home confinement was likely more limited because their inhabitants did not have immediate access to information about the pandemic or fully understand its impact due to their limited experience handling influenza outbreaks.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N34 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: Europe: 1913-
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J10 - General
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I10 - General
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2023 16:27
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2024 02:09

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