New anthropometric evidence on living standards in nineteenth-century Chile

Manuel Llorca-Jaña, Damian Clarke, Juan Navarrete-Montalvo, Roberto Araya-Valenzuela, Martina Allende

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


A sample of over 44 thousand Chilean marines was used to estimate the trend of mean heights from the 1820s to the 1890s. We confirm that there was height stagnation in the last decades of the nineteenth-century Chile despite sizeable per capita GDP growth; there were hidden nutritional costs to this economic growth. This situation resembles a similar puzzle in antebellum USA or early industrial Britain, but in the case of Chile GDP growth is not explained by industrialization but by export-led-growth. Still, the results are similar: height stagnation. Regarding the determinants of adult male height, our data also convincingly showed that there was a significant correlation between height and literacy. There was a positive correlation between height and white ethnicity, and, linked to this, a strong negative correlation between stature and eyes reported as “black”. Finally, living in urban environments (or environments with higher population density) also negatively affected height.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100819
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Chile
  • Height
  • Living conditions
  • Navy
  • Nineteenth century


Dive into the research topics of 'New anthropometric evidence on living standards in nineteenth-century Chile'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this