Research report 2022 - Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

What data from online genealogies reveal about historical life expectancy

Alburez-Gutierrez, Diego; Stelter, Robert
Max-Planck-Forschungsgruppe „Ungleichheiten in Verwandtschaftsbeziehungen“ (Alburez-Gutierrez)
Arbeitsbereich „Fertilität und Wohlbefinden“ am Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung, Rostock; Max Geldner Assistenzprofessor für quantitative Wirtschaftsgeschichte, Universität Basel (Stelter)
Online genealogy data are beset by a number of biases that affect their representativity. Diego Alburez-Gutierrez from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and his colleague Robert Stelter show this with the example of a user-generated dataset from the FamiLinx project. They calculate the remaining life expectancy of men aged 30 who lived in the German Empire between 1500 and 1910 and the Netherlands between 1600 and 1909. Their work highlights the need to develop bias-correction methods to analyze historical population trends derived from crowdsourced digital data.

For the full text, see the German version.

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