Scientific article

Migration experiences, environmental exposures and old age mortality in the Dutch birth cohorts 1850-1890

Published inAnnales de Démographie Historique, no. 1, p. 191-214
Publication date2022

Between 1850 and 1990, the life expectancy in the Netherlands grew from 39.8 to 77 years. The decrease of under-five mortality was the main driver of the first progress, then around the middle of the 20th century improvements in adults' survival took the relay, and finally, the elderly have been decisive in the last episode of this longevity revolution. This Dutch history is well-known (Wolleswinkel - van den Bosch et al., 1998), and similar to what has been observed all across Europe (Eggerickx et al., 2017). In this paper, we propose an analysis that focuses on one component, the old age mortality, during the 20th century. Most of the researches on the mortality transition adopting a long-term perspective are based on aggregate official statistics. Due to the limitations in the access to nominal sources, studies using individual longitudinal data are rare (among the exceptions, Bourdieu and Kesztenbaum, 2004). We took advantage of a unique resource, the Historical Sample of the Netherlands, to implement a life course approach of older adults' survival during the period 1900-1990. More specifically, we question the impact of environmental exposures, at the time of birth and across life until old age, on mortality risks above the age of 50 for 8,773 people born in the Dutch provinces between 1850 and 1890. Accordingly, we first explain the interest of these research questions, inscribed in an environmental life course approach of the construction of health in old age. The contributions of historians and demographers to the debates in the migrants' mortality paradox instruct this approach and a few hypotheses. Section "Data and methods" presents the database, our analytical sample, the construction of the indicators and the statistical method. After a presentation of the main results on the internal migration trajectories across the Netherlands between 1850 and 1940, and their relationships with older adults' survival during the period 1900-1990 (section "Results"), this paper ends with a concluding discussion.

  • Migration
  • Old age
  • Mortality
  • Environmental exposures
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
SESMA CARLOS, Maria Dolores, ORIS, Michel. Migration experiences, environmental exposures and old age mortality in the Dutch birth cohorts 1850-1890. In: Annales de Démographie Historique, 2022, n° 1, p. 191–214.
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
  • PID : unige:164892

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