Saturday, August 14, 2010

Historical Sample of the Netherlands

I have talked a lot about the Dutch LISS Panel as being one of the world's most useful data resource for social science. It has been nominated for a Dutch award for data dissemination. Along with it was nominated the eventual winner, the Historical Sample of the Netherlands. This is a mindblowing data infrastructure. From their website "The HSN offers a representative sample of about 78,000 people born in the Netherlands during the period 1812-1922. The HSN-database containing individual life-courses is a unique tool for research in Dutch history and demography." It is well worth a browse through the projects and data that is linked on their site.

The following project is one example of how they are using the data.
The project 'Early Life Conditions, Social Mobility and Longevity' (ESM) is an international project, supervised by prof. George Alter (Indiana University, Bloomington), and for the main part financed by the National Institute of Aging (National Institute of Health, Washington D.C.). The Dutch part is carried out by dr. F.W.A. van Poppel, from the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI). The cooperation with the HSN consists of building the database 'Inequality and longevity from a life-course perspective: the Netherlands 1850-2000'.

Based on this database the long-term effects of social, economical and familial conditions during childhood on mortality in later life will be studied. Using population registers, personal cards and records of the civil registration, life courses and family compositions will be reconstructed for about 7000 children, born between 1850-1922 in the provinces of Utrecht, Zeeland and Friesland. Context variables, like the regional level of water supplies, mortality and family income, are also part of the analysis.

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