Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/107

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

which has since been held to be the 263rd in the series. It is not proposed to deal here with incidents appertaining to the “ ante-natal gloom, ” and we are concerned only with human beings when once they have been born. In regard to the division of these into male and female, the first point to be noted is that, in all communities of western civilization, more boys are born than girls. The excess ranges from 20 to 60 per thousand. In Greece and Rumania it is exceptionally high, and in some Oriental or semi-Oriental countries it is said to give place to a deficit, though in the latter case the returns are probably not trustworthy. From the more accurate statistics available it appears that the excess of male births varies amongst different races and also at different times in the same community. It is high in new colonies and amongst the Latin races, with the exception of the French. These, with the English, show a much smaller excess of boy-births than the average of western Europe, and the proportion, moreover, seems to be somewhat declining in both these countries and in Belgium, from causes which have not yet been ascertained. As the mortality amongst boys, especially during the first year, is considerably above that of the other sex, numerical equilibrium between the two is established in early youth, and in most cases girls outnumber boys, except for a few years between twelve and sixteen. Then follows the chequered period of the prime of life and middle age, during which the liability of men to industrial accidents, war and other causes of special mortality, irrespective of their greater inclination to emigrate, is generally sufficient to outweigh the dangers of childbirth or premature decay among the women, who tend, accordingly, to predominate in number at this stage. In old age, again, their vitality rises superior to that of the men, and they continue to form the majority of the community. The general results are an excess of females over males throughout western Europe: but though the relative proportions vary from time to time, remaining always in favour of what is conventionally called the weaker sex, it is impossible, owing to disturbing factors like war and migration, to ascertain whether there is any general tendency for the proportion of females to increase or not. In comparatively new settlements, largely fed by immigration, the number of males is obviously likely to be greater than that of females, but in the case of countries in Asia and eastern Europe in which also a considerable deficiency of the latter sex is indicated by the returns, it is probable that the strict seclusion imposed by convention on women and the consequent reticence regarding them on the part of the householders answering the official inquiry tend towards a short count. On the other hand, the lower position there assigned to women and the very considerable amount of hard work exacted from them, may cause them to wear out earlier than under higher conditions, though not to the extent implied in the statistics. In the TABLE Il.

Country.: 3 'g 3 Country. 4 f 8 '53 3

9 2 'B 2 9 3 3 2

2 fa Q 2 2 2 Q 2

Sweden 1049 946 Galicia 1019 941

Norway 1064 944 Hungary 1009 949

Finland 1022 948 Rumania 964 902

Denmark 1053 950 Greece 921 879

England 1069 966 Servia . 946 945

Scotland 1057 956 Bulgaria 959 927

Ireland 1028 946 Russia

Holland 102 5 950 (Europe) 1 o 1 1 948

Belgium 1013 956 Russia (Asia) 893

Germany 1029 9 50 japan '98 3-Austria 1042 947 lndia 963

France 1033 960 Egypt 967

ltaly 1011 947 United States 958

Spam 1049 938 Canada 952

Portugal 1093 S99 Argentine 893

Cape Colony 977

Australia 906 950

L New Zealand 900

following table the latest available information on this head is given for representative countries of western and eastern Europe, the East and the New World.

Distribution by A ge. F ew facts are more uncertain about an individual than the number of years he will live. Few, on the contrary, as was pointed out by C. Babbage, are less subject to fluctuation than the duration of life amongst people taken in large aggregates. The age-constitution of a community does indeed vary, and to a considerable extent, in course of time, but the changes are usually gradual, and often spread over a generation or more. At the same time, it must be admitted that those which have recently taken place amongst most of the communities of western Europe are remarkable for both their rapidity and their extent; and are probably attributable, in part at least, to influences which were almost inoperative at the time when Babbage wrote. The distribution of a population amongst the different periods of life is regulated, in normal circumstances, by the birth-rate, and, as the mortality at some of the periods is far greater than at others, the death-rate falls indirectly under the same influence. The statistics of age, therefore, may be said to form a link between those of the population, considered as a fixed quantity, as at a census, and those which record its movement from year to year. To the correct interpretation of the latter, indeed, they are essential, as will appear below. Unfortunately, the return of age is amongst the less satisfactory results of a general enumeration, though its inaccuracy, when spread over millions of persons, is susceptible of correction mathematically, to an extent to make it serve its purpose in the directions above indicated. The error in the original return generally arises from ignorance. An illiterate population is very prone to state its age in even multiples of Eve, and even where education is widely spread this tendency is not altogether absent, as may be seen from the examples given in TABLE III.

Number returned at each age per 10,000 of Population. United States, Russia, 1 897. 1

Age. Germany, 1900. India,

V 1900. 1 1891

Native Asia, Females

Whites. Negroes. Europe. Females.

I9 180 196 204 166 1 12 64

20 182 200 252 223 385 505

2I 181 191 204 143 113 54

29 130 146 1 19 92 60 42

30 149 170 218 269 456 624

31 145 125 75 74 74 30

49 88 72 62 45 38 I2

50 | 94 84 156 196 257 386

51 89 61 38 35 34 I2

59 62 43 30 25 18 I0

60 1 70 49 105 163 179 281

61 60 33 15 22 25 1 1

Table III. Deliberate mis-statements, too, are not unknown, especially amongst women. This has been repeatedly illustrated in the English census reports. Irrespective of the wish of women between 2 5 and 40 to return themselves as under 2 5, there appears to be the more practical motive of obtaining better terms in industrial insurance, whilst an overstatement of age often has, it is said, the object of getting better wages in domestic service, or better dietary in the workhouse! In all countries, moreover, there seems to be an inclination to exaggerate longevity after the three score years and ten have been passed. In order to minimize the results of such inaccuracy, the return of ages is compiled in aggregates of five or ten years and then redistributed over single years by the method of differences. The present purpose being merely to illustrate the variation of distribution amongst a few representative countries, it is unnecessary to enter into more detail than such as will serve to distinguish the proportions of the population in main divisions of life. Thus it may be said that in the west of Europe about one-third of the people, roughly speaking, are under fifteen; about one-half, between that age and fifty, and the remaining sixth older than fifty. The middle period