Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Mitchell finds children who lose fathers suffer at cellular level

Seefeldt says hard work alone won't allow poor to reach middle-class status in America

Shaefer says proposed plan to cover tax cuts would hurt a lot of struggling Americans

More News

Highlights

Neal Krause wins GSA's Robert Kleemeier Award

MiCDA Research Fellowship - applications due July 21, 2017

U-M awarded $58 million to develop ideas for preventing and treating health problems

Bailey, Eisenberg , and Fomby promoted at PSC

More Highlights

Life and death during the Great Depression

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Granados, J.A., and Ana V. Diez Roux. 2009. "Life and death during the Great Depression." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(41): 17290-17295.

Recent events highlight the importance of examining the impact of economic downturns on population health. The Great Depression of the 1930s was the most important economic downturn in the U. S. in the twentieth century. We used historical life expectancy and mortality data to examine associations of economic growth with population health for the period 1920-1940. We conducted descriptive analyses of trends and examined associations between annual changes in health indicators and annual changes in economic activity using correlations and regression models. Population health did not decline and indeed generally improved during the 4 years of the Great Depression, 1930-1933, with mortality decreasing for almost all ages, and life expectancy increasing by several years in males, females, whites, and nonwhites. For most age groups, mortality tended to peak during years of strong economic expansion (such as 1923, 1926, 1929, and 1936-1937). In contrast, the recessions of 1921, 1930-1933, and 1938 coincided with declines in mortality and gains in life expectancy. The only exception was suicide mortality which increased during the Great Depression, but accounted for less than 2% of deaths. Correlation and regression analyses confirmed a significant negative effect of economic expansions on health gains. The evolution of population health during the years 1920-1940 confirms the counterintuitive hypothesis that, as in other historical periods and market economies, population health tends to evolve better during recessions than in expansions.

DOI:10.1073/pnas.0904491106 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2765209. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next