Born in Paris, Bertillon was the son of statistician Louis Bertillon and the older brother of Alphonse Bertillon. He was educated as a physician but turned to statistical analysis. In 1880 he wrote La Statistique humaine en France. In 1891-93 he chaired a committee that introduced the Bertillon Classification of Causes of Death, which was adopted by several countries; it was the precursor to today's International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) which continues to be published by the World Heath Organization. By comparing statistics from different European countries he discovered the correlation between suicide rates and divorces, claiming that both phenomena were associated with social disequilibrium, ideas influencing Émile Durkheim in his work Suicide.
- Offen, Karen M. (2000), European Feminisms, 1700–1950: A Political History, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, p. 177