Work Package 2: Inequalities in Mortality during Past Epidemics

WP2 investigates inequalities in epidemic mortality during and after previous epidemic outbreaks, both in the short- and in the longer term.

Merging results from WP1 and WP2, it will become possible to compare inequalities in mortality during COVID-19 on the one hand, and previous epidemic outbreaks on the other.

In order to do so, EPIBEL can rely on a number of exceptional datasets from Belgium’s rich statistical heritage to investigate these issues for the past epidemics – through HISSTER (for 1866 and 1918/19) and STREAM (for 1692/93) at QUETELET-UGENT – all of which need to be expanded and fine-tuned for the periods of epidemic disease and the spatial units studied.

For a sample of individual cities and rural regions, the social profile of the victims (age, sex, occupation, place of residence and income/wealth) will be analyzed based on causes of death-registers, parish registers and church accounts and cadastral data (POPPKAD).

This will be complemented by a spatial analysis of differential local living conditions (combining census and fiscal data, for a number of cities available at the level of individual houses and households.