Polygamy's impact on mortality: modeling polygamous mortality in the great basin

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Economics
Author Pesci, Luciano Wheatley
Title Polygamy's impact on mortality: modeling polygamous mortality in the great basin
Date 2019
Description This examination of mortality and demography among Utah's polygamous families in the late 1800s serves to reinforce established aspects of health and family structure, while disrupting past knowledge with unique insights. First, the year of birth for both males and female adults, polygamous or not, who reached the age of 50 in the test window demonstrated a surprising result of increased mortality rates during the late 19th and into the early 20th century. The second surprising but extremely robust discovery was the increase in mortality of infants and children given the religious status of their parents when measured by activity in the social rites of passage for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Being a member of a polygamous household seems to have had no effect on the mortality of adults, male or female. However, the negative Church affiliation effects in our analysis for adult males and both infants and children are substantially different from the general findings from the Utah Population Database (UPDB), possibly reflecting the fact that our analysis covers an earlier period than many prior analyses. As a result, the health impacts of migration and resettlement are more visible, necessitating the need for closer consideration of the conditions of arrival in early Utah. Child mortality showed a surprising decline with the increasing age of the father. When controlling for mother's age, birth order, and wife order, the infants or young children of older fathers were still less likely to die, contrary to modern literature about the negative effects of an aging father on the mortality rates of his children. When stepping back and looking at the evidence on the whole, the answer to our historical question about polygamy's health effects on family demography is clear: for many born into a polygamous Mormon household it meant higher mortality, but the experience differed remarkably for each individual member of the household.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Format Medium application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s6hq9zpc
Setname ir_etd
ID 1701242
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6hq9zpc
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