About the Growth Data

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Visualizing Philadelphia


The Krogman Growth and Development Study Collection

From the 1940s through 1970, several thousand school age children were enrolled and followed with the cooperation of the Philadelphia Board of Education and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Data was collected during visits to the Philadelphia Center for Research in Child Growth, started by Krogman. While some of the Krogman collection is now located at the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, the majority of it is at an offsite warehouse where it fills more than 70 file cabinets. These records on about 7,500 individual Philadelphia area children provide both a vast and detailed physiological history of Philadelphia school children as they developed from early childhood to adulthood. At each visit, enrolled children were evaluated in both dental and skeletal development and detailed notes recorded for each child, including medical histories, nutrition, and a range of notes about behaviors and family employment and residential information. 

files and cabinets

family and health history chart



Neighborhood Locations

To generate our own data set from the vast Krogman collection, we began by collecting participant data from four particular neighborhoods in the Philadelphia area. These locations exposed children to different social and physical conditions that could be reflected in the Krogman Study growth data. Mt. Airy is a middle-class suburb on the edge of the city proper; North Philadelphiawas the city's center for industrial manufacturing, where a number of ambient contaminants, such as lead from smelting operations, existed throughout the study period and into the present; West Philadelphia is a mixed residential and light commercial neighborhood at the nexus of two interstate highways; and working class South Philadelphia fronts both I95 and the Delaware River, which supported a major naval shipyard, dockyards,  and food distribution centers and slaughterhouses.  

Four neighborhood photos arranged in a square

participant density mapfour selected neighborhoods