Nineteenth Century Black and White US Statures: The Primary Sources of Vitamin D and Their Relationship with Height
44 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2008
Date Written: December 2008
Vitamin D is vital in all vertebrates because it allows them to absorb more calcium from their diets, contributing to stronger skeletal systems and stature growth. Using a new source of 19th century US state prison records, this study contrasts the statures of comparable African-Americans and whites by the primary sources of vitamin D production: time exposed to solar radiation, skin pigmentation, and nativity. Greater insolation (vitamin D production) is documented here to be associated with taller black and white statures, and a considerable share of the stature differential by socioeconomic status was related to insolation.
Keywords: socioeconomic status, vitamin D, insolation, 19th century US statures
JEL Classification: I10, J01, J15, J16, N81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation