Milk depots and the decline of infant mortality in Spain (1890-1936) 

Francisco Muñoz-Pradas, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

The role of public health has been a central topic on the classical debate about the historical mortality decline in Europe. One of these health initiatives were the Milk Depots. Spain set up those centres from the late 19th century until the beginning of the Civil War. The goal of this paper is to evaluate the effect of this health intervention on the infant mortality decline during this period. This study works out three kinds of sources: Statistical Yearbooks, Official documents and local records produced by the same Milk Depot. It analyses data available for all the country and one local case such as the Barcelona’s Milk Depot (1904-1935). The main methodological issue deals with the measurement of the effect of the Milk Depot activities on the pattern of changes of infant mortality. Results suggest that Milk Depots have a positive but quite moderate effect on the improving of overall levels of child survival.

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Presented in Session 31: Infant and child mortality and fertility: reproduction in 19th and early 20th century Europe