Publisher description for Vital accounts : quantifying health and population in eighteenth century England and France / Andrea A. Rusnock.


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Counter Why did Europeans begin to count births and deaths? How did they collect the numbers and what did they do with them? Through a compelling comparative analysis, Vital Accounts charts the work of the physicians, clergymen, and government officials who crafted the sciences of political and medical arithmetic in England and France during the eighteenth century, before the emergence of statistics and regular government censuses. Andrea A. Rusnock presents a social history of quantification that highlights the significant development of numerical tables, new scientific instruments designed to evaluate smallpox inoculation, to link weather and disease, to compare infant and maternal mortality rates, to identify changes in disease patterns, and to challenge prevailing views about the decline of European population. By focusing on the most important eighteenth-century controversies over health and population, Rusnock shows how vital accounts - the numbers of dead and born - became the measure of public health and welfare.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Medical statistics England History, Medical statistics France History, Mortality England History, Mortality France History, Epidemiology England History, Epidemiology France History, Public health England History, Public health France History