may conveniently be extended to sixty and subdivided at forty, as is done in Table IV. The differences between the several countries in their age-constitution can best be appreciated by reference to some recognized general standard. The one here adopted is the result of the co-ordination of a long series of enumerations taken in Sweden during the last century and a half, prepared by Dr G. Sundbiirg of Stockholm. It is true that for practical use in connexion with vital statistics for a given period, the aggregate age-distribution of the countries concerned would be a more accurate basis of comparison, but the wide period covered by the Swedish observations has the advantage of eliminating temporary disturbances of the balance of ages, and may thus be held to compensate for the comparatively narrow geographical extent of the field to which it relates. TABLE IV.
|Country.||Census Year-||Per 1000 of Population.||Under 15. 15-40. 40-60. Over 60.|
As regards correspondence with the standard distribution, it will be noted that Finland, the next country to Sweden geographically, comes after Japan, far detached from northern Europe by both race and distance, and is followed by Portugal, where the conditions are also very dissimilar. The other Scandinavian countries, Norway and Denmark, appear, like Sweden itself in the present day, to bear in their age-distribution distinct marks of the emigration of adults, or, at least, the temporary absence from home of this class at the time of enumeration. The same can be said of Italy in its later returns and of Germany in those before 1895. On the contrary, the effect of the inflow of adult migrants is very marked, as is to be expected, in the returns for the new countries, such as the United States, Canada and Australasia. In the case of the Old World, the divergence from the standard which most deserves notice is the remarkable preponderance of the young in all the countries of eastern Europe, aswell as in India, accompanied by an equally notable deficiency of the older elements in the population. Again, there are in the west two well-known instances of deficient reinforcement of the young, France and Ireland, in which countries the proportion of those under 15 falls respectively 75 and 52 per mille below the standard; throwing those over 60 up to 41 and 26 per mille above it. The table does not include figures for earlier enumerations, but one general characteristic in them should be mentioned, viz. the far higher proportion borne in them of the young, as compared with the more recent returns. In England, for instance, those under 15 amounted to 360 per mille in 1841, against 324 sixty years later. In Ireland the corresponding fall has been still more marked, from 382 to 304. The ratio in France was low throughout the 19th century, and during the last half fell only from 273 to 261, raising the proportion of the old above that resulting in northern Europe and Italy from emigration. It is remarkable that the same tendency for the proportion of the young to fall off is perceptible in new countries as well as in the older civilizations, setting aside the influence of immigration at the prime of life in depressing the proportion of children. The possible causes of this widespread tendency of the mean age of a western community to increase appertain to the subject of the movement of the population, which is dealt with below.
The Movement of Population.~“ The true greatness of a. State ” says Bacon, “ consisteth essentially in population and breed of men ”; and an increasing population is one of the most certain signs of the well-being of a community. Successive accretions, however, being spread over so long a term as that of human life, it does not follow that the population at any given time is necessarily the result of contemporary prosperity. Conversely, the traces left by a casual set-back, such as famine, war, or an epidemic disease, remain long after it has been succeeded by a period of recuperation, and are to be found in the age constitution and the current vital statistics. Population is continually in- a state of motion, and in large aggregates the direction is invariably towards increase. The forces underlying the movement may differ from time to time in their respective intensity, and, in highly exceptional cases, may approach equilibrium, their natural tendencies being interrupted by special causes, but the instances of general decline are confined to wild and comparatively small communities brought into contact with alien and more civilized races. The factors upon which the growth of a population depend are internal, operating within the community, or external, arising out of the relations of the community with other countries. In the latter case, population already in existence is transferred from one territory to another by migration, a subject which will be referred to later. Far more important is the vegetative, or “natural ” increase, through the excess of births over deaths. The principal influences upon this, in civilized life, 'are the number of the married, the age at which they marry or bear children, the fertility of marriages and the duration of life, each of which is in some way or other connected with the others. M arriage.-In every country a small and generally diminishing proportion of the children is born out of wedlock, but the primary regulator of the native growth of a community is the institution of marriage. Wherever, it has been said, there is room for two to live up to the conventional standard of comfort, a marriage takes place. So close, indeed, up to recent times, was the Connexion held to be between the prosperity of the country and the number of marriages, that Dr W. Farr used to call the latter the barometer of the former. The experience of the present generation, however, both in England and other countries, seems to justify some relaxation of that view, as will appear below. The tendency of a community towards matrimony, or its “ nuptiality, " as it is. sometimes termed, is usually indicated by the ratio to the total population of the persons married each year. For the purpose of comparing the circumstances of the same community at successive periods this method is fairly trustworthy, assuming that there has been no material shifting of the age-proportions during the intervals. It is not a safe guide, however, when applied to the comparison of different communities, the age-composition of which is probably by no means identical, but in consideration of its familiarity it has been adopted in the first section of Table V. below, at three periods for each of the countries selected as representative. One of the features which is prominent throughout the return is that in every country except Belgium the rate per mille attained a maximum in the early seventies, and has since shown