Living Standards in Liaoning, 1749–1909: Evidence from Demographic Outcomes
To assess trends in the standard of living in Liaoning province in north-east China during the nineteenth century, the secular change in demographic rates and their sensitivity to economic conditions are examined. The findings show that marital fertility rose, child mortality fell and some men were able to marry much earlier. Fertility became less sensitive to grain prices, suggesting a decline in the vulnerability of rural populations to economic shocks. Based on these trends, the conclusion can be drawn that the standard of living in Liaoning rose during the nineteenth century. While these results may not be generalized to China as a whole, they do raise the possibility of variation between and within regions of China in trends in living standards during the nineteenth century.
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