Andy Dennis, a longstanding contributor and friend of the blog continues his painstaking analysis of the 1861 census results for Brownhills, this time looking at the age distribution of the population at the time of the census.
Andy has a great blog of his own, which I think is worth a read – you can go check it out here. Andy’s work is, as you would expect, extremely detailed, lovingly researched and packed with useful information – particularly for genealogists who’ll find Andy’s tips, views and methodology very helpful indeed.
There is a huge treasury of articles there which a well worth a read.
If you have anything to add, please do – this is fascinating research which I’m proud and honoured to publish. Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.
More from my exploration of the 1861 census. The two bar charts attached show how the population profile has shifted so that there are much more older people today. We all know this is because advances in healthcare, education, wealth, housing, environment, sanitation, welfare and workplace practice mean people live longer. In particular infant and child mortality are much reduced: for example, in England and Wales in 1851 (sadly no stats for 1861) the infant (0-4 years) mortality rate was approximately 65 per thousand live births (1) – in other words, more than 15% would die before their 5th birthday – and in 2010 was just 4.3 (2).
What I had not previously appreciated were the numbers of infants and children in the general population, with a much lower proportion of people of working age (which mainly excluded women in 1861) compared to the 21st century.
The infant mortality rate in the UK, although still falling (3.8 in 2013)(2), remains considerably above more successful European states, such as Germany and Iceland, and is attributed to our much more unequal society. Disadvantaged parents are more likely to smoke and drink, including during pregnancy, and are more likely to have less healthy and secure lifestyles generally, all of which contribute to deaths of infants and young children (3).
1. Vision of Britain
3. BBC reporting on “Why Children Die”, a report by Dr Ingrid Wolfe of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Heath, 2014.