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Graunt, John (1620–1674)

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

John Graunt was a storekeeper from London, England, who is credited with being the founding father of the science of vital statistics. Before Graunt's time, public health surveillance was unprecedented, and no method was available to quantify disease patterns in the population. Graunt provided a statistical and analytical approach to examine the population's health status. He collected data from the Bills of Mortality to study the disease patterns in London. The Bills of Mortality were documents that were published weekly by the London parishes and offered information on the number of births, deaths, and cause of death in each parish.

The Bills of Mortality were an untapped data source for Graunt, who was able to organize the data to compile mortality tables, allowing him to compare ...

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