Voluntary Association Growth and Mortality in Sweden 1895-1930

Johan Junkka , Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR), UmeƄ University

Living in an area with an active associational life can be good for population health. This study examines whether the establishment of a voluntary association in an area affected population-level mortality in Sweden from 1895 to 1930. This is done using data on total mortality on a parish level combined with data on the presence of three types of voluntary associations in the parish; Free-churches, temperance associations and unions. I estimate the lagged impact of the establishment of a voluntary association on future mortality levels using distributed non-linear lag models. The study finds that a negative relationship between period mortality levels and the founding of a union (-0.6/1000, CI: -0.73 -0.49) and temperance association (-0.25/1000, CI: -0.30 -0.04), and finds no relationship to the founding of a Free church. The effect of union presence was cumulative and reached a peak after eight years while the effect of temperance presence showed no effect in the first five years. These findings show that the emergence of voluntary organisations in Sweden had a positive impact on population health. Results which suggests that the establishment of a union or a temperance association increased social capital in the areas which lowered period mortality risks in the population.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality