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Life and death of the people of London: a historical GIS of Charles Booth's inquiry

Orford, Scott, Dorling, Danny, Mitchell, Richard, Shaw, Mary and Davey Smith, George 2002. Life and death of the people of London: a historical GIS of Charles Booth's inquiry. Health & place 8 (1) , pp. 25-35. 10.1016/S1353-8292(01)00033-8

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Social reformer Charles Booth undertook a massive survey into the social and economic conditions of the people of London at the end of the 19th century. An important innovation of his Inquiry was the construction of large, detailed maps displaying social class of inner London on a street-by-street basis. These provide a detailed and vivid picture of the geography of poverty and affluence at this time. These maps have been digitised, georeferenced and linked to contemporary ward boundaries allowing Booth's measurement of social class to be matched to the measurement of social class in the 1991 census of population and standardised mortality ratios derived for all causes of death in the survey area between 1991 and 1995. The social class data were used to derive an index of relative poverty for both time periods and a comparison of the geographies of relative poverty and their relationship with contemporary mortality was made. Although the overall standard of living had increased, the geography of poverty at the end of the 19th century was very similar to that at the end of the 20th century. Moreover, the geography of all causes of death for people over the age of 65 was more strongly related to the geography of poverty in the late 19th century than contemporary patterns of poverty. This relationship was also true for mortality for specific diseases that are related to deprivation in early life. The paper concludes that the spatial patterns of poverty in inner London are extremely robust and a century of change has failed to disrupt it.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Poverty ; Mortality ; Correlation analysis ; Social change
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 13538292
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:09

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