Project Conclusion

As sometimes happens with research, I had to change my original focus, creating finer infant mortality rates for the Boston area in determining the effectiveness of milk stations. Still focusing on these milk stations, I instead decided to look at infant deaths from the years before these stations were implemented to see if I could find any correlation between high infant death and the future placement of these milk stations.

[Read more…]

Changing Project Direction

My original plan was to be able to calculate infant mortality rates for specific areas of Boston before milk stations were implemented, and then after. However, infant mortality data that I would have used to create a mortality rate was not available for the years during and after the milk stations were set up. I decided to change the direction of my project.

[Read more…]

The Literature Behind Milk Stations and GIS

Before I start my work using GIS, I have spent time working with Professor Brian Beach to get a deeper understanding of how others have completed similar work to what we plan on doing. Before coming to campus, I read a paper on calculating infant mortality rates in the early 20th century by state, which focused on the difference between the mortality rates for white and black Americans. While the racial difference does not pertain to my research, the information on how mortality rates can be incorrect because of underreporting of births is important. Later in the project, when actual mortality rates are going to be calculated, this kind of bias could really affect the project. Fortunately, the paper discussed the accuracy of larger northern cities and Boston in particular as far as birth reporting is concerned, so it should be less of a problem.

[Read more…]

Abstract- Creating Finer Infant Mortality Rates for Boston to Help Determine the Effectiveness of Milk Stations

Milk stations were privately established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to offer pasteurized milk across the United States, where quality of milk was very poor and infant mortality high. I will be working with Professor Brian Beach on his research on milk stations in the city of Boston and their effect on the greater population. This research will help determine whether or not milk stations helped decrease infant mortality in Boston and to find out whether they affected human capital development. Not all of Boston had milk stations, and so only portions of the population were affected. Specifically, for this summer, I hope to record infants’ births and deaths in specific parts of Boston to find infant mortality by area of Boston rather than the whole city and to map it using GIS. This will make it possible to separate areas affected by milk stations and the control groups who were not, and to compare their mortality rates side-by-side to look for the overall effect of the milk stations. I will be working in Williamsburg and using the computer lab, birth and death records obtained from, and original census records (digitized by to conduct my research. In the long-run, this research could have implications for countries who are further behind in public health initiatives as this study can look at the negative effects of late implementation of public health initiatives, as the United States was much later than Europe in widely adopting pasteurized milk.