History of measles mortality

3 Feb

Henry Gannett for the United States Census Office, from page titled “41. Deaths from known causes.” Statistical Atlas of the United States, based upon results of the Eleventh Census (1890), 1898.


These maps of measles mortality appeared in three late-19th-century statistical atlases published by the Census Office. Experiments in data visualization, the atlases are modern in their scope and ambition. Since they were compiled in a time before the availability of vaccines for most childhood diseases (with smallpox being the exception), they are a good record of the former pervasiveness of measles.

So writes Rebecca Onion at Slate’s history site, The Vault. You can read the rest of her post, and see two other maps, here: History of measles mortality: Maps from a time before vaccines..


One Response to “History of measles mortality”

  1. Michael & Carolyn Yoder February 4, 2015 at 7:53 am #

    This is very interesting, Firth. Thanks for posting. One wonders how accurate data gathering was back around 1900. If true, it looks like an argument could be made that the wide open spaces, isolation, and generally low population density of the American West might have given folks there some measure of protection from highly communicable diseases like measles. It’s also interesting to note the low levels of measles mortality in New England. Could a similar argument work there, do you think? Hope things are well with you and Joan.


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