via HeritageDaily: 17th- and 18th-century risk of disease through Migration

17th- and 18th-century risk of disease through Migration

HERITAGE March 3, 2014 – No comments

The fate of migrants moving to cities in 17th- and 18th-century England demonstrates how a single pathogen could dramatically alter the risks associated with migration and migratory patterns today.

Cities have always been a magnet to migrants. In 2010, a tipping point was reached for the first time when, according to the World Health Organization, the majority of the world’s population lived in cities. By 2050, seven out of 10 people will have been born in – or migrated to – a city. One hundred years ago, that figure was two out of 10.

Today, cities are generally the safest places to live. If you live in one, you’re likely to be richer than someone living in a rural environment. If you’re richer, you’re likely to live longer. If you live in a city, you have better access to hospitals and healthcare, and you’re more likely to be immunised.

But that was not always the case. In 17th- and 18th-century England, city life was lethal – disproportionately so for those migrating from the countryside.

Dr Romola Davenport is studying the effects of migration on the health of those living in London and Manchester from 1750 to 1850, with a particular focus on the lethality of smallpox – the single most deadly disease in 18th-century England. In the century before 1750, England’s population had failed to grow. Cities and towns sucked in tens of thousands of migratory men, women and children – then killed them. It’s estimated that half of the natural growth of the English population was consumed by London deaths during this period. Burials often outstripped baptisms.

In 2013, cities are no longer the death traps they once were, even accounting for the millions of migrants who live in poor, often slum-like conditions. But will cities always be better places to live? What could eliminate the ‘urban advantage’ and what might the future of our cities look like if antibiotics stop working?

By looking at the past – and trying to make sense of the sudden, vast improvement in survival rates after 1750 – Davenport and the University of Newcastle’s Professor Jeremy Boulton hope to understand more about city life and mortality.

“For modern migrants to urban areas there is no necessary trade-off of health for wealth,” said Davenport. “Historically, however, migrants often took substantial risks in moving from rural to urban areas because cities were characterised by substantially higher death rates than rural areas, and wealth appears to have conferred little survival advantage.”

The intensity of the infectious disease environment overwhelmed any advantages of the wealthy – such as better housing, food and heating. Although cities and towns offered unparalleled economic opportunities for migrants, wealth could not compensate for the higher health risks exacted by urban living.

“Urban populations are large and dense, which facilitates the transmission of infectious diseases from person to person or via animals or sewage. Towns functioned as trading posts not only for ideas and goods but also for pathogens. Therefore, growing an urban population relied upon substantial immigration from rural areas,” explained Davenport.

“After 1750, cities no longer functioned as ‘demographic sinks’ because there was a rapid improvement in urban mortality rates in Britain. By the mid-19th century, even the most notorious industrial cities such as Liverpool and Manchester were capable of a natural increase, with the number of births exceeding deaths.”

Davenport has been studying the processes of urban mortality improvement and changing migrant risks using extremely rich source material from the large London parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields. The research, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Economic and Social Research Council, is now being augmented with abundant demographic archives from Manchester, funded by the Leverhulme Trust.

For both cities, Davenport and colleagues have access to detailed records of the individual burials underlying the Bills of Mortality, which were the main source of urban mortality statistics from the 17th to the 18th century. These give age at death, cause of death, street address and the fee paid for burial, which enables them to study the age and sex distribution of deaths by disease. In addition, baptismal data allow them to ‘reconstitute’ families as well as to measure the mortality rates of infants by social status.

“The records themselves give only a bald account of death,” said Davenport. “But sometimes we can link them to workhouse records and personal accounts, especially among the migrant poor, which really bring home the realities of life and death in early modern London.

“Smallpox was deadly. At its height, it accounted for 10% of all burials in London and an astonishing 20% in Manchester. Children were worst affected, but 20% of London’s smallpox victims were adults – likely to be migrants who had never been exposed to, and survived, the disease in childhood. However in Manchester – a town that grew from 20,000 to 250,000 in a century – 95% of smallpox burials were children in the mid-18th century, implying a high level of endemicity not only in Manchester but also in the rural areas that supplied migrants to the city.

“So studying urban populations can tell us not only about conditions in cities but also about the circulation of diseases in the rest of the population.”

The greater lethality of smallpox in Manchester is, for the moment, still a mystery to researchers; but evidence suggests the potential importance of transmission via clothing or other means – as opposed to the person-to-person transmission assumed in mathematical models of smallpox transmission in bioterrorism scenarios. Although smallpox was eradicated in the late 1970s, both the USA and Russia have stockpiles of the virus – which has led to fears of their use by terrorists should the virus ever fall into the wrong hands. Data on smallpox epidemics before the introduction of vaccination in the late 1790s are very valuable to bioterrorism researchers because they provide insights into how the virus might spread in an unvaccinated population (only a small proportion of the world’s population is vaccinated against smallpox).

From 1770 onwards, there was a rapid decline in adult smallpox victims in both London and Manchester, which Davenport believes could be attributable to a rapid upsurge in the use of smallpox inoculation (a precursor of vaccination) by would-be migrants or a change in the transmissibility and potency of the disease. By the mid-19th century, towns and cities appear to have been relatively healthy destinations for young adult migrants, although still deadly for children.

“Smallpox was probably the major cause of the peculiar lethality of even small urban settlements in the 17th and 18th centuries,” said Davenport, “and this highlights how a single pathogen, like plague or HIV, can dramatically alter the risks associated with migration and migratory patterns.”

“The close relationship between wealth and health that explains much of the current ‘urban advantage’ is not a constant but emerged in England in the 19th century,” added Davenport. “While wealth can now buy better access to medical treatment, as well as better food and housing, it remains an open question as to whether this relationship will persist indefinitely in the face of emerging threats such as microbial drug resistance.”

Header Image : An 1802 cartoon of the early controversy surrounding Edward Jenner’s vaccination theory, showing using hiscowpox-derived smallpox vaccine causing cattle to emerge from patients. WikiPedia

Contributing Source : University of Cambridge

© Copyright 2014 HeritageDaily – Heritage & Archaeology News

via Nat’l Geographic: The Growth of Megacities

Geography in the News: The Growth of Megacities

Posted by Neal Lineback of Geography in the NewsTM on February 17, 2014
By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner,  Geography in the NewsTM

Megacities’ Expansive Growth

For the first time in human history, more of the world’s 6.8 billion people live in cities than in rural areas. That is an incredible demographic and geographic shift since 1950 when only 30 percent of the world’s 2.5 billion inhabitants lived in urban environments.

The world’s largest cities, particularly in developing countries, are growing at phenomenal rates. As a growing landless class is attracted by urban opportunities, meager as they might be, these cities’ populations are ballooning to incredible numbers.

A May 2010 Christian Science Monitor article on “megacities” predicted that by 2050, almost 70 percent of the world’s estimated 10 billion people—more than the number of people living today—will reside in urban areas. The social, economic and environmental problems associated with a predominantly urbanized population are considerably different from those of the mostly rural world population of the past.

A megacity is an urban agglomeration (accumulation) with more than 10 million inhabitants. Sixty years ago in 1950, there were only two megacities—New York-Newark and Tokyo. In 1995, 14 megacities existed. Today, there are 22, mostly in the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. By 2025, there will probably be 30 or more.


Urbanization has been occurring in the developed countries of the West for 200 years. Since the Industrial Revolution, a period from the 18th to 19th century in which machine-based manufacturing grew tremendously, cities have grown rapidly. As technological innovations flourished, economies previously dependent on manual labor and draft-animals began to change. People moved into the cities to find work and relatively quickly, cities began to grow exponentially.

Today, the most rapid megacity growth is occurring in the world’s least developed and poorest countries—those least able to handle the political, social, economic and environmental problems associated with rapid urbanization.

In the most modern industrialized countries, on average, three out of four people already live within an urban area. In contrast, in the least-developed regions of the world, more than two out of three people still reside in a rural area. But that statistic is changing rapidly.

For people in developing countries, even the slums of cities like Mumbai, India, can offer more opportunities than their poor subsistence-based villages can. People gravitate to the cities because the potential for making money is greater there. While most of the economies in rural areas are agriculture-based with little cash flow, in the cities, people may be able to earn cash for work or retail sales.

The 10 largest cities in the world in 2010 and their projected populations by year 2025 are Tokyo, Japan  (37.1 million), Delhi, India (28.6), São Paulo, Brazil (21.7), Mumbai, India (25.8), Mexico City (20.7), New York-Newark (20.6), Shanghai, China (20.0), Calcutta, India (20.1), Dhaka, Bangladesh (20.9) and Karachi, Pakistan (18.7).

According to the Christian Science Monitor, along with the masses come problems associated with providing necessary services like clean water, sanitation systems to remove the megatons of garbage and human waste and transportation systems to ferry workers. In addition, many cities have difficult times providing electrical networks, health care facilities and police protection.

Urbanization is not all bad news. According to the Christian Science Monitor, some see great promise in the trend, especially those companies that build roads and buildings.  If a city is efficient, energy consumption can decrease by 20 percent. Transportation costs for goods and labor can fall considerably in cities because markets and workers are all close together. In essence, cities are where cash flows—they are where economic growth takes place.

As the world’s population increases at the rate of 134 million per year, the urbanization process is pushing more and more people into the cities. Such frenetic rates of urbanization and intense poverty of large urban populations strain resources. Nonetheless, to poverty-stricken, landless people, cities offer visions of opportunity. The resulting massive urban underclass, particularly in developing countries, represents one of the world’s greatest social and economic challenges.

The real question is, “What are the limits to urban growth?”

And that is Geography in the News.

Sources: GITN #1049, “Growing Megacities,” June 28, 2010; GITN #844, “Megacities: 10 Million or More People,” Aug. 4, 2006; and Bruinius, Harry, “March of the Megacities,” The Christian Science Monitor, May 10, 2010.

Co-authors are Neal Lineback, Appalachian State University Professor Emeritus of Geography, and Geographer Mandy Lineback Gritzner. University News Director Jane Nicholson serves as technical editor. Geography in the NewsTM  is solely owned and operated by Neal Lineback for the purpose of providing geographic education to readers worldwide.

via ‘I used to live here’: Saginaw’s Steep Population Drop hits Neighborhoods

Keyterms: Population Geography, urbanization, deindustrialization, out-migration, white-flight, redlining, push factors, Urban Geography, Economic Geography, Development, Blight, Industry, Manufacturing, secondary economic activity.

(¯`·._.·(¯`·._.·(¯`·._.· Article Below ·._.·´¯)·._.·´¯)·._.·´¯)

‘I used to live here’: Saginaw’s steep population drop hits neighborhoods

By Mark Tower |

on January 26, 2014 at 7:00 AM, updated January 26, 2014 at 11:17 AM

SAGINAW, MI — Former Saginaw City Manager Darnell Earley often said his job was one of “managing decline.”

In just five decades, the city’s population dropped from nearly 100,000 in the 1960s to fewer than 52,000 by the 2010 census. To say it another way, Saginaw lost 48 percent of its residents during the last 50 years.

The reasons for the decline are many, and the impact of the outbound migration is still felt today.

This week, The Saginaw News takes a look at those trends through the eyes of those who once lived in the city, and some who still do today. The series of reports titled “I used to live here” talks to citizens about what they’ve witnessed during the past few decades in the neighborhoods they’ve called home.

Among their stories:

  • Betty Van Ochten tells how her North Side neighborhood disappeared under the asphalt of a new, wider Washington Avenue.
  • Donald and Barbara Anderson reflect on 42 years of living in the city they call home.
  • Linda Parent tells about her childhood in a neighborhood near the old Saginaw County Fairgrounds.
  • Former Midland residents Beau and Teagan Carnes reflect on their first five years living in Saginaw’s Houghton-Jones neighborhood.
  • Eddie Byas discusses how he hardly recognizes the Buena Vista Township home where he raised his family.

Experts also weigh in on what happened and what the future may hold for the city as it reshapes itself for the new century.

‘It’s not just a Saginaw thing’

Long before Saginaw’s decline came a period of unfettered growth, from a city of about 50,000 people in 1910 to its population height in 1960. In 1968, Saginaw was one of the 10 cities chosen as an “All-America City” by the National Civic League.

Former Saginaw mayor and history buff Greg Branch said similar growth was seen across the nation.

-6e02b6be34b2da6b.jpgFormer Saginaw Mayor Greg Branch

“The American population grew at a very high rate during that time period,” Branch said. “It was the growth of manufacturing, particularly automotive and its spinoffs. There were a number of different factors, but the main one for Saginaw was that GM had jobs here.”

Evelyn Ravuri, a professor of geography at Saginaw Valley State University, specializes in a field called “population geography,” which focuses on the distribution, composition, migration and growth of populations.

Ravuri said Saginaw’s more recent population decline, like its growth, is by no means unique to this city.

“It wasn’t so much people running away as it was they had tremendous incentives to move away.” -Former Mayor Greg Branch

“In the 1970s and ’80s, we start to see a decline in manufacturing, and those jobs start to trickle out of the state,” she said. “And then the supporting industries start to go also. So you start seeing a decline in the population.”

Ravuri said a migration also took place from metropolitan areas across the nation: A departure of baby boomers from cities and into surrounding suburbs.

“This is not just a Saginaw thing,” she said. “That’s been going on for several decades.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1950, 61 percent of the residents in Saginaw County lived in cities, with about 39 percent in townships and villages.

Sixty years later, the opposite is true.

While 29 percent of Saginaw County residents still lived in cities in 2010, the vast majority (71 percent) live in outlying townships and villages. Cities in Saginaw County are the cities of Saginaw, Frankenmuth and Zilwaukee.

“Population spread” into outlying areas hit places like Saginaw harder than large metropolitan areas, such as Boston and San Francisco, because of the availability of undeveloped rural land close to Saginaw’s city center, Ravuri explained.

“Once people started to move out to the suburbs in the 1950s, by the 1960s the malls were moving out, the doctors’ offices were moving out and the educational institutions were moving out,” she said. “It’s no surprise, when you can move out into the suburbs and have everything you need.”

Branch said federal housing policy encouraged the shift the to the suburbs in the 1950s and ’60s, often referred to as “white flight.”

“It wasn’t so much people running away as it was they had tremendous incentives to move away,” Branch said.

He explained that the now-illegal process of “redlining” certain neighborhoods to discourage investment was, at the time, both legal and commonplace. At the same time, Branch said, attractive loans were available to some who were interested in moving into the suburban developments popping up outside city limits.

Saginaw’s struggles

The start of the departure of residents from Saginaw, Branch said, can be blamed on those incentives, coupled with racial tensions reaching a crescendo in the 1960s and the bisection of Saginaw by the construction of Interstate 675.

“You have this huge swath of land cutting right through the main part of the city,” Branch said.

“My dad’s stepmother, my grandfather’s widow, lived in a house on North Michigan in the last block before Weiss. The berm for 675 is where their yard was. They bought her house, and what did she do? She moved out to the township. And a lot of people did that.

“That project alone is probably responsible for the loss of several thousand homeowners.”

Saginaw city township populations
While the city of Saginaw’s population has plummeted since 1960. During the same period, the population of neighboring Saginaw Township has doubled.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau 

Construction of the nearly 8-mile-long interstate business route began in 1969 and it was opened to traffic in 1971.

Branch also acknowledged the city’s failure to annex portions of the surrounding townships as the population spread. The city sold those areas its water.

“I would say that was the biggest mistake that we made,” Branch said. “That suburban growth was on the back of our water system.”

The problem eventually began to snowball, depressing real estate values and causing more residents to leave, Branch said.

“And right on the heels of that, you have the Arab oil crisis, the rise of the Japanese auto industry and, really, the beginning of the loss of GM jobs,” he said. “It’s kind of like you had all these different things coming together.”

Saginaw County’s countywide population grew steadily to a height of 228,000 in 1980 and has since seen a trickle of decline. The county population in 2010 was about 200,000.

At the same time that the city of Saginaw rapidly lost residents, many of the surrounding townships were growing.

Saginaw Township expanded from a population of just under 6,000 in 1950 to 40,840 in 2010. That means the township now has only about less 10,000 residents than the city.

Thomas Township has also seen huge growth in the last 60 years, from a population under 3,000 to one of nearly 12,000. Tittabawassee Township has grown from a population of nearly 2,400 in 1950 to nearly 10,000 residents at the time of the last census.

Bridgeport Township has nearly doubled in size since 1950, from about 5,500 to about 10,000.

Saginaw population shift
The above charts show the dramatic shift in the concentration of city dwellers versus people living in outlying townships and villages in Saginaw County in 1950 and 2010.Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The migration from city to suburbs has had financial consequences for Saginaw, including significant implications on the city’s ability to provide services and maintain infrastructure.

The total assessed value of the city’s taxable property has fallen from nearly $760 million in 2002 to about $610 million in 2011, roughly a 20 percent decrease.

Saginaw’s city government has downsized, staffing 345 full-time and 88 part-time positions in the current fiscal year. Five years ago, the city had 466 full-time workers.

New reasons for hope

But it’s not all bad news for a city full of people with a passion for their hometown and its rich heritage as both an important supplier of lumber and as an industrial and manufacturing hub.

michigan rib overview
Festival goers at the Michigan Rock ‘n Rib Fest in 2013 at FirstMerit Bank Event Park in Saginaw.

Unlike many Midwest cities that invested heavily in the automotive industry, Saginaw’s city government has not yet approached the edge of bankruptcy. Though Saginaw’s expenses are rising and its savings dwindling, city leaders still make final administrative and budgetary decisions, unlike its neighbors along the Interstate 75 corridor that are run by a state-appointed emergency manager.

With a brand new outdoor event venue built in downtown Saginaw in 2013, new residential housing being developed in the city and the prospect of a Central Michigan University Medical School campus on both sides of the Saginaw River opening in 2015, many watching the news are hopeful a new era of growth lies ahead.

Ravuri said that some experts are predicting a revival of metropolitan areas, though she pointed out that it’s unclear if that growth trend might appear in Saginaw.

“It really depends on what those baby boomers are going to do,” she said. “They could delay it if they continue to move out into suburbs. But if they decide to move back into cities, you’ll see it going a lot faster.”

Demolition of the house at 3145 S. Washington in Saginaw
A crew from Rohde Brothers Excavating tears down a house at 3145 S. Washington in Saginaw, Dec. 11, 2013.

City and county leaders are attempting to make room for potential growth and to stabilize remaining neighborhoods. Hundreds of vacant, blighted properties dot Saginaw. Thanks to $11.2 million in federal grant dollars secured in 2013, officials plan to demolish about 950 of the empty, dilapidated homes.

That amounts to about 5 percent of all of the houses in Saginaw. City officials estimate there are another 1,000 blighted homes that still should be demolished.

The homes were once in tightly knit neighborhoods, say people from all walks of life who claim Saginaw as their hometown. Read some of their stories this week in the series “I used to live here.”

  • Follow along and jump into the conversation yourself on Twitter using the hashtag #iusedtolivehere.

Use our searchable database below to explore information on the county-owned properties already slated for demolition as part of the federal grant. Crews have already begun demolishing some of the 413 publicly-owned properties in the database and hope to acquire another 500-some privately-owned empty, blighted homes to demolish.

The plan is to clear all 950 properties by the spring or summer of 2015.

Link to the story.

vía GlobalPost: Latin America: The Cost of Murder

The effects that crime, violence, and the homicide rate have on Latin America is a model for the rest of the world. The loss of GDP due to a loss of a work force is starting to have an effect on countries in the form of a lost TAX BASE which can lead to decaying INFRASTRUCTURE and social programs. A increasing adult MORTALITY RATE leaves orphans without families and ultimately guidance for their futures. Coupled with political corruption, there is little hope for the trend to change any time soon.

-The Human Imprint

 ▇ ▅ █ ▅ ▇ ▂ ▃ ▁ ▁ ▅ ▃ ▅ ▅ ▄ ▅ ▇ ▇ ▅ █ ▅ ▇ ▂ ▃ ▁ ▁ ▅ ▃ ▅ ▅ ▄ ▅ ▇ ▇ ▅ █ ▅ ▇ ▂ ▃ ▁

Latin America: The cost of murder

Simeon Tegel, January 18, 2014 06:01

Editor’s note: Warning — this article contains graphic images.

LIMA, Peru — Dreams of a better life randomly shattered forever by a stranger’s bullet. Homeless orphans sucked into violent crime. Entire neighborhoods where the police fear to tread.

The human toll of Latin America’s unwanted status as the most homicidal region on Earth has long been all too clear. But experts are now focusing on the staggering economic cost of bloodshed that’s left more than 1 million people dead in the region since 2000.

Here, GlobalPost takes a closer look at the price tag of Latin America’s murder epidemic.

Lost GDP

According to a recent United Nations study, “excess mortality” caused by high murder rates cost Latin America 0.5 percent of its gross domestic product, or $24 billion, in 2009. That percentage rises dramatically for the most violent countries. Honduras — one of the world’s most murderous nations, and one of the Western Hemisphere’s poorest — lost 10.5 percent of its economic output.

Even Chile and Uruguay, two of the region’s safest countries, each squandered roughly 3 percent of their 2010 GDP on crime and violence (p. 103 of the UN study). As a part of the world where millions don’t get three square meals a day, Latin America is not in a position to be blowing that kind of cash.

Long-run costs

Even those dramatic numbers may seriously underestimate the cumulative price tag, over time, of Latin America’s bloodbath. Another study, by the World Bank, calculated that a 10 percent drop in the sky-high murder rates of Central America’s most dangerous nations — which would still leave Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala as some of the planet’s deadliest peacetime places — could increase annual economic growth by an entire percentage point. Over several decades, that extra growth would build up significantly, and could eventually make the big difference between a country having the living standards of Switzerland or, well, Honduras.

Complicated bill

Calculating a definitive bill for the violence is close to impossible. How, for example, do you put a price tag on the 331 million years of human life that the UN estimates were lost in 2009 alone? And how would you gauge the counterfactual of investments never made because of the risk of violence and robbery? Nevertheless, experts reached the figures above using factors such as extra health care costs, billions blown on policing and private security rather than productive activities, surging prison budgets, and consumers too afraid to leave their homes to spend their hard-earned cash.

More than narcos

Although the drug cartels have killed thousands, that bloodshed is concentrated in relatively small pockets of a region that’s home to 600 million people. For the most part, Latin America’s high murder rates have more mundane causes, like street crime and domestic violence.

The forces behind the violence are complex, but have much to do with social breakdown and, the UN says, the limited professionalism of police forces and justice systems — polite diplo-speak for widespread corruption and incompetence. According to the UN, 1 in every 3 prisoners in a survey of six Latin American nations’ incarcerated populations left home before the age of 15.

Although Colombia’s murder rate remains seven times higher than that of the United States, the country has managed to reduce homicides since the dark days of the 1980s and 1990s when drug kingpin Pablo Escobar ran amok.

Colombia still has a long way to go, says Camilo Reyes, executive director of the country’s American Chamber of Commerce. But he attributes the homicide reduction to strong state institutions, including courts that actually deliver justice: “We have managed to maintain a separation of powers in Colombia. It is precarious sometimes, but we do have that, including the justice system.”

Poverty ≠ violence

Perhaps one of the most surprising findings is that some Latin American homicide rates have risen even as poverty has waned. The UN explains this paradox by pointing to factors including weak public institutions — governing everything from public schools to the courts — and one of the world’s widest rich-poor gaps. It also cites rapid “disorganized” urban growth, outstripping governments’ ability to provide basic services in new neighborhoods. In fact, there’s a direct correlation in most Latin American countries between urban growth of more than 2 percent per year and high rates of violence, the UN says.

And the organization blames growing materialism for “aspirational crimes,” in which young people from the wrong side of the tracks see crime as the only way to access the consumer lifestyle rubbed in their faces by advertising.

Iron fist doesn’t work

Another key finding is that “iron fist” policing does not work. “Strong police and criminal repression in the region have often coincided with high crime rates,” the UN notes dryly. Gustavo Beliz, an expert at the Inter-American Development Bank, told GlobalPost what’s really needed are smarter, not tougher, strategies from police forces that currently lack everything from “credible and detailed crime databases to community police training.” Comprehensive social policies, addressing not just poverty but family breakdown and schooling, are also needed to break the cycle of violence from one generation to another, Beliz said.