Changes in Health and Longevity over the 20th Century: Evidence from North Carolina

Martha J. Bailey
Professor, Department of Economics, College of Literature, Science & the Arts
Research Professor, Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research


This pilot demonstrates the feasibility of creating large-scale linked vital records to study changes in health and longevity over the 20th century. The pilot lays the groundwork for a multi-state resource called The Longitudinal, Intergenerational Family Electronic Micro-Database Project (LIFE-M), a large scale longitudinal database to cover men and women born 1881-1930.


  • Bailey M, Cole C, Henderson M, Massey C. How well do automated linking methods perform? Lessons from US Historical data. 2020. Journal of Economic Literature. 58(4): 997-1044.
  • Bailey M, Cole C, Henderson M, Massey C. How Well Do Automated Linking Methods Perform? Lessons from U.S. Historical Data. J Econ Lit. 2020 Dec;58(4):997-1044. doi: 10.1257/jel.20191526. PMID: 34294947; PMCID: PMC8294155.
  • Bailey M, Cole C, Massey C. Simple Strategies for Improving Inference with Linked Data: A Case Study of the 1850-1930 IPUMS Linked Representative Historical Samples. Hist Methods. 2020;53(2):80-93. doi: 10.1080/01615440.2019.1630343. Epub 2019 Oct 31. PMID: 33005066; PMCID: PMC7523567.
  • Bailey, M., Karimova A., Murto MJ. 2018. The Determinants of Life Expectancy in the 20th Century U.S. NBER Cohort Studies Meeting, Cambridge, MA, May 2018.
  • National Institute on Aging. R21AG056912. How Does Automated Record Linkage Affect Inferences about Population Health? PI: M. Bailey.
  • National Institute on Aging. R01AG057704. Longitudinal and Intergenerational Determinants of Aging and Mortality. PI: M. Bailey
  • National Institute on Aging. R01AG057679 (via Minnesota). Multigenerational Longitudinal Panel for Aging Research. Consortium PI: M. Bailey.
  • National Science Foundation. NSF 1539228. Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21). Longitudinal Intergenerational Family Electronic Micro-Database (LIFE-M). PI: M. Bailey.