Download Poster (2.6 MB)
How did life expectancy, mortality, and overall health conditions change over time in Schenectady? What factors contributed to these changes?
Students enrolled in CLS202: Introduction to Archaeological Methods at Union College in Spring 2019 examined these questions by carrying out demographic research at Vale Cemetery in Schenectady. Dedicated in 1857, the cemetery is currently home to over 33,000 graves and remains an active burial place. Students tested two hypotheses about the population performance values of those buried at Vale Cemetery:
1) Females have higher age-specific survivorship, lower age-specific mortality, and longer age-specific life expectancy than do males.
2) People who died after the start of the 20th century have higher age-specific survivorship, lower age-specific mortality, and longer age-specific life expectancy than those who died before the 20th century.
Students also considered the broader implications of their results by studying how differences in income, education, race, and gender still contribute to dramatic inequalities in life expectancy and health, in Schenectady and throughout the United States and the world.
life expectancy, mortality rates
Archaeological Anthropology | Social and Cultural Anthropology
Commito, Angela, "Life Expectancy, Mortality, and Survivorship: Student Research at Vale Cemetery in Schenectady, New York" (2019). 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Certification Course. 1.