Adult Male Height in an American Colony: Puerto Rico and the USA Mainland Compared, 1886-1955

Posted: 23 Mar 2007

See all articles by Ricardo Godoy

Ricardo Godoy

Brandeis University

Elizabeth Goodman

Attorney at Law

Richard A. Levins

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Mariana Caram

Brandeis University

Craig Seyfried

Brandeis University

Abstract

The links between adult height and socioeconomic-political marginality are controversial. We test hypotheses by comparing secular trends between two groups of USA adult male citizens born during 1886-1930: (a) 9805 men surveyed in Puerto Rico during 1965 and (b) 3064 non-Hispanic Whites surveyed on the mainland during 1971-1975. Puerto Rico provides an apt case study because it is the oldest colony in the world and was the poorest region of the USA during the 20th century. During the period considered the average adult man in Puerto Rico was 164.8 cm tall, 8.3 cm shorter than the average adult man on the mainland (173.1 cm). Both groups experienced secular improvements in height, with men on the mainland having higher rates than men in Puerto Rico. In neither case were results statistically significant. The modest changes in Puerto Rico likely reflect the offsetting role of improved health and a stagnant rural economy during the first half of the 20th century.

Keywords: Anthropometrics, Human capital, Nutritional status, Puerto Rico, Physical stature, Height, Secular trends, USA, Political marginalization

JEL Classification: I12, I32, N33

Suggested Citation

Godoy, Ricardo and Goodman, Elizabeth and Levins, Richard A. and Caram, Mariana and Seyfried, Craig, Adult Male Height in an American Colony: Puerto Rico and the USA Mainland Compared, 1886-1955. Economics & Human Biology, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 82-99, March 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=971205

Ricardo Godoy (Contact Author)

Brandeis University ( email )

Waltham, MA 02454
United States

Elizabeth Goodman

Attorney at Law

Richard A. Levins

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities ( email )

Department of Applied Economics
231 Cla Off - 1994 Buford Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States
612-625-5238 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://umn.edu/lookup?SET_INSTITUTION=&UID=levin003

Mariana Caram

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA 02454
United States

Craig Seyfried

Brandeis University ( email )

Waltham, MA 02454
United States

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