• Growth;
  • Stature;
  • Conscripts;
  • Menarche;
  • Social stratification;
  • Occupational status;
  • Maturation;
  • Urban–rural


Recent studies of the effects of socioeconomic stratification on stature and age at menarche in Poland are reviewed. The data are derived from a survey of conscripts in 1976, three nationwide growth surveys in 1955, 1966, and 1978, and several surveys of the timing of menarche. The data indicate a clear social gradient in stature during childhood, youth, and young adulthood, and in the age at menarche. Individuals from the larger urban centers and small families with college-educated fathers, on the average, tend to be the tallest and to mature earliest, while those from peasant (farmers) families are at the opposite extreme in size and maturity. Also, the data show marked secular trends towards increased stature and earlier maturation. The influence of social variables underlying the socioeconomic stratification, i.e., income, family size, education, occupational status, and urbanization, are discussed relative to their effects on growth and maturation of Polish children.