Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/110

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be discussed presently. The birth-rate, like the marriage-rate, seems to have reached its acme in the seventies, except in the three southern countries, France, Italy and Spain. The decline since the above period is very marked and exceeds that noted in the case of the rate of marriage. It is worth noting, too, that the fall in the crude birth-rate is not confined 10 the Old World, but has attracted special attention in Australia and New Zealand, where a rate of 40 per mille in the period 1861-1870 has now given place to one of 26. In Massachusetts and other of the older settlements of the United States, moreover, the same feature has been the subject of investigation.

other than abstinence from marriage, at all events at the principal reproductive period; and perhaps to a decrease in marriage or remarriage after middle life, a period of which the weight in the age-distribution has been increasing of late. On the other hand, the postponement of marriage in the case of women of conceptive ages is a tendency which seems to be growing in other countries as well as in England and undoubtedly has a depressing effect upon the rate of births. It would conduce, therefore, to further accuracy in the comparison of the rates of different countries if the latter were to be correlated with greater subdivision of the ages amongst wives between 1 5 and 45. The proportion of wives below 30 to the total of that group was TABLE VI.

C Ill

(B) Legitimate Births, per ]§ irihS'e§ ;1T§ (Eg (A) Born ahve, per 1000 of Total,000 Wives, Unmarried and Country. Populatlon' 15 to 45 Years Old- Widowed Women, 15 to 45.

1841-1850. 1861-1870. 1871-1875. 1900-1905. ISSO-1882. 1890-1892. 1900-1902. 1896-1900. Sweden 31-1 31-4 30-7 26-7 293 280 269 23-4 § °i“'°'§ ' 3” “°'9 333 223 § “* § 3Z 3” 122 IH an - 35'5 34'7 3 '0 ' 09

Denmark 30-5 31-0 30-8 29-7 287 278 259 23-6 England 34-6 36-0 36-0 29-0 286 264 235 8-8 Scotland - 34-8 35-o 29-7 311 296 272 14-1 Ireland - 26-1 26-4 23-2 283 288 289 3-9

Holland - 33°0 35°3 361 32'I 347 339 315 9'0 Belgium . 30-5 31-6 32-4 28-5 313 285 251 18-9 Germany 36-1 37-2 38-9 35-5 310 301 284 27-7 Austria (W.) 35-9 35-7 37-2 34-2 281 292 284 41-7 France 27-3 26-3 25-5 21-7 196 173 157 18-1 Italy - 37-5 36-9 33-5 276 283 269 21-1

Spain - 37-8 36-5 34-8 258 264 259-The

crude rates which have been discussed above afford no explanation of this change, nor do they always illustrate its full extent. It is necessary, therefore, to eliminate the difference in the age-constitution of the countries in question by excluding from the field of observation, as before, all except possible mothers, basing the rate upon the respective numbers of women of the conceptive age, that is between 15 and 45. The proportion borne by this group to the total population is in most cases fairly up to that set forth by Dr Sundbarg in his standard. It is well above it in all three parts of the United Kingdom and falls materially below it only in Scandinavia and Italy. Indeed, during the last generation, this proportion has been in most cases slightly increased, in consequence of the fall of the birth-rate which set in anterior to this period. The stock, then, from which wives are drawn is ample. The question remains, how far advantage is taken of it. According to the Sundbarg standard the percentage married is 48. As has been shown in the preceding paragraph, this is surpassed in Italy, France and Germany, and approached in most of the rest, with the exception of Sweden, Norway and Scotland, which are six or seven points below it, and Ireland, where less than a, third are married. The proportion married, moreover, has slightly increased since 1880, except in the United Kingdom. In England the marriage-rate (on the age basis) fell off by 4-6% and in Scotland by 2%, whilst the crude birth-rate declined by 1 5 and II % respectively. In Ireland the case was different, as the marriage-rate declined by 12% and the birth-rate by no more than 5-7 %. In New South Wales and New Zealand, too, the marriage-rates fell off in the same period by II and 28% respectively, whilst the decline in the birth-rates amounted to 35 and 31 %. In the above countries, therefore, abstinence from matrimony may be said to have been a factor of some importance in the decline. On the continent of Europe, however, looking at the divergence in direction between the crude marriage-rate and that corrected to an age-basis, it is not improbable that the decline in the former may be attributable to some cause mentioned in Connexion with the marriage-rate, and in the figures relating to some 30 years back some traces can be found of a connexion between a high birth-rate and a high proportion of young wives. In the present day, however, these indications do not appear, so it would seem that the tendency in question had been interrupted by some other influence, a point to which reference will be made below.

If abstinence from marriage and the curtailment of the reproductive period by postponement of marriage be insuiiicient to account for the material change which has taken place in the birth-rate within the last few decades, it is clear that the latter must be attributable to the diminished fertility of those who are married. On this question the figures in the second portion of Table VI. throws some light. Here the annual number of legitimate births is shown in its proportion to the mean number of married women of conceptive age at each of the three latest enumerations. The rate, it will be seen, has fallen in all the countries specified, except for a slight increase of 2 % in Ireland and an almost stationary condition in Austria and Spain. The decline in Italy and Norway is small, but in France, where for a long time the fertility of the population has been very much below that of any other European country, the birth-rate thus calculated fell by nearly 20%, the same figure? being approached in Belgium, where however, the fertility of married women is considerably greater. The case of England is remarkable. In the earlier period its crude birth and marriage-rates were above the average and its proportion of young wives well up to it. Its fertility-rate, however, which was by no means high in 1880, fell by nearly 18% by 1901, and since that date a further fall is reported by the registrar-general, to 24%, leaving the rate below that of all the other European countries except France. The States of Australasia, again, have experienced a decline even more marked. In 1880-1882 their fertility-rate ranged from 300 to 338, a low proportion for a new country, but nearly up to the European standard. By 1900-1902, however, the rate had fallen in all the larger States by from 23 to 31% and the