Year: 2009 Source: PNAS. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v.106, no.41, (October 13, 2009), 6pp. SIEC No: 20100567

The authors used historical life expectancy & mortality data to examine associations of economic growth with population health for the period 1920-1940. Descriptive analyses were conducted of trends & associations between annual changes in health indicators & annual changes in economic activity were examined using correlations & regression models. Population health did not decline but generally improved during 1930-1933. For most age groups, mortality tended to peak during years of strong economic expansion, such as 1923, 1926, 1929, & 1936-1937. The only exception was suicide mortality which increased during the Great Depression but accounted for less than 2 percent of deaths. Results confirm the counterintuitive hypothesis that population health tends to evolve better during recessions than in expansions. (52 refs.) JA