a1 School of Business, University of Texas, USA
a2 CESifo University of Munich, Germany
This paper demonstrates that although modern BMIs have increased, 19th century Middle-Atlantic black and white BMIs were in the normal range; neither underweight nor obese individuals were common. Farmers’ BMIs were consistently heavier than non-farmers. Philadelphia residents’ BMIs were lower than elsewhere within Pennsylvania, indicating that urbanization and agricultural commercialization were associated with current biological living standards in urbanized areas.