Tall But Poor: Nutrition, Health, and Living Standards in Pre-Famine Ireland
S. Nicolas, Richard H. Steckel
NBER Historical Working Paper No. 39
This paper uses height data recorded on Convict Indents to study temporal patterns and regional differences in living standards in pre-famine Ireland. The approach is explicitly comparative and makes use of information from America and other parts of Europe. The Irish attained roughly the 16th centile of modern height standards and, though smaller than contemporary North Americans, were among the tallest in Europe, including the wealthier English. We suggest that: a nutritious diet and epidemiological isolation were important factors in the high nutritional living standards of the Irish.