Until the late 1930s, almost all European countries were characterized by excess female mortality during childhood and adolescence. Most historical research on this topic has focused on excess female mortality in a rural setting, making use of published statistical
data only. In our paper we study sex differences in mortality in age groups 1-19 in the period 1850-1930 by making use of individual level data for the Netherlands as a whole.
We focus on the question whether culture (religion), social class and place of residence had an effect on the level of excess mortality. The main conclusion is that excess mortality
was a phenomenon that was observed only among children of unskilled workers. Living in an agrarian region or having been born and raised in a peasant family were not associated with higher female death risks. We suggest that this more favorable position of girls is a consequence of the dominant position of small family farms, the preponderance of mixed or
dairy farming, the well-integrated position of women in market production and more generally, the higher degree of equality between men and women.