The high rate of doctors in Athens won’t come as news to anyone – what might, however, is just how long this has been the case. According to a study made public this week, this trend in the Greek capital was already evident in the late 19th century.
According to the study, carried out by Eugenia Bournova, an associate history professor at the University of Athens, in 1879 the rate in Athens was one doctor per 330 inhabitants, climbing to one per 220 inhabitants by 1960.
However, the death rate in the Greek capital remained high in the 1879-1960 period, ranging between 29.5 and 22.5 per 1,000, the study found. This appears to back claims that the abundance of doctors is an indication of a population’s education standards, not well-being.
“The [impressively high rates] of doctors and lawyers since the 19th century, to which we should add Greek engineers in the early 20th century, reflects the desire of Greek families to have high-specialization descendents as a means of ascending the social ladder,” Bournova said.