The Biological Standard of Living in Nineteenth-Century Industrial Catalonia: A Case Study


  • Ramon Ramon i Muñoz Universitat de Barcelona
  • Josep Maria Ramon-Muñoz Universidad de Murcia



Heights, biological standard of living, industrialisation, Catalonia


Drawing on anthropometric information, this article investigates the evolution of the biological standard of living in nineteenth-century Catalonia. We focus on the city of Igualada, one of Catalonia’s main textile centres in the early part of the century. The results show a decline in the height of males born between the 1830s and the 1860s, the period in which factory- based industrialisation emerged and became consolidated. The article also suggests that height inequality rose during the third quarter of the nineteenth century. The empirical evidence gathered provides further support for the pessimistic view of the evolution of the standard of living during the early stages of industrialisation.