This paper analyzes the records of over 85,000 recruits from the British Isles serving in the East India Army between 1802 and 1860. It computes average heights corrected for age, occupational status, and place of origin. The main finding is that the height data provide no support for a rise in nutritional status between 1815 and 1860, and it confirms that Ireland and Scotland enjoyed somewhat better nutritional status before 1860, although the advantage of the Celtic fringe seems to decline over time. The results suggest that extreme caution should be employed in making inferences from anthropometric data regarding living standards.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics