Living arrangements and the elderly Casalguidi, 1819-59. M. Manfredini, M. Breschi & A. Fornasin. The starting point.
M. Manfredini, M. Breschi & A. Fornasin
One of the main assumptions of family historians is that elderly people living in large and complex households could count on more favorable living conditions than those living in nuclear ones. There is in fact large agreement that complex households – multigenerational households in particular - could provide the elderly with “a secure existence through co-residence with their children” (Kertzer, 1995, 368), and that they were also in a position of power and great authority over the whole household.
Our goal is to check whether such social and structural differences could turn into mortality differentials for the elderly of a Tuscan community of mid-19th century – CASALGUIDI - in which two opposite family systems co-existed, the joint family system of sharecroppers and the nuclear family system of day laborers.
Mean Pop. Size 2,400
Mean Household number462
Prevalently rural and characterized by the typical Tuscan sharecropping, called Mezzadria
In the period 1819-59, Casalguidi belonged to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. In 1861 it became part of the Italian Kingdom
Late marriage (yrs)
28.7 M 24.9 F
High permanent celibacy rates (%)
Joint family system
Earlier marriage only for M (yrs)
27.3 M 25.0 F
Lower permanent celibacy rates (%)
Nuclear family system
Raw Data1. Parish registers of Birth, Marriage and Death for
the period 1819-1859
2. Annual Stati Animarum (census-like data)
3. Family Tax Registers
TechniqueNominative Record Linkage
DatasetHousehold, individual and couple life-histories reconstructed year by year and linked to SES information. Up to date, the dataset consists of circa 100,000 person- years and 19,000 household-years
% of households with elderly people by household structure
Complex = Multiple, extended, and frereche
Total = Complex + Nuclear + One-person hh + No structure hh
The model controls also for individual’s age, position within the household (HH or not), and for the cholera epidemic of 1854-55
In bold, coefficients statistically significant at p<0.05.
…and future perspectives
Modifications/changes in living arrangements of elderly people. Only individuals observed for 5+ years.
Nuclear – Complex = 55.6%
Complex – Nuclear = 25.5%
Others = 19.0%
Complex = 69.9%
Nuclear = 24.9%
Others = 5.2%