Mortality and demographic recovery in early post-black death epidemics: Role of recent emigrants in medieval Dijon

Autoři: Pierre Galanaud aff001;  Anne Galanaud aff002;  Patrick Giraudoux aff003;  Henri Labesse aff004
Působiště autorů: Université Paris-Saclay, Inserm, Inflammation, Microbiome and Immunosurveillance, Clamart, France aff001;  Université de Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Besançon, France aff002;  Chrono-environnement, Université de Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, CNRS UMR6249, Besançon, France aff003;  Paris Sorbonne—Paris 4 Université, Institut des Sciences Humaines Appliquées, Paris, France aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226420


Objective and methods

We analyze the influence of population movement on susceptibility to death and resilience during two epidemics occurring in Dijon soon after the Black Death. Using a specific program designed to propose links between entries in annual tax registers, we define tentative heads of household, the elapsed time since their first registration and their ties with other persons within the city.


During the 1400 epidemic heads of household who were registered for 1–3 years die in large numbers, whereas during years without epidemics, their death rate is lower than that of heads of household who were registered longer. Recent registration is an epidemic vulnerability factor only in association with a low taxation status, which, when isolated, does not influence mortality. A lack of familial ties within Dijon is another vulnerability factor among the recently registered. This suggests that poor, recent emigrants are more affected by epidemic mortality. In contrast, the mortality of recently registered heads of household is indistinct during a later epidemic occurring after several years of major famine that may have selected the more resistant emigrants and/or excluded the more miserable of them from our analysis. In contrast to the first one, this second epidemic is followed by rapid demographic recovery. This latter recovery is fully explained by the contribution of poor, newly registered heads of household without ties in Dijon.


Our results outline the interaction between population movement and low socioeconomic status on death susceptibility in historical plagues and show that poor recent emigrants may also be key players in the resilience of the population after an epidemic.

Klíčová slova:

Death rates – Europe – Chi square tests – Infectious disease epidemiology – Professions – Socioeconomic aspects of health – Plagues – Black death


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2020 Číslo 1