Town and Country Population
preceding the census of 1871.
It is an open town, in which the crowded alleys of larger
places are not frequent. Its urban peculiarities are therefore minimized, and its statistical
returns would give a picture somewhat too favourable of the average condition of life in
towns. For specimens of rural districts, I chose small agricultural parishes in
By the courteous permission of Dr. Farr, I was enabled to procure extracts from the
census returns concerning 1000 families of factory hands at Coventry, in which the age
of the mother was neither less than 24 nor more than 40 years, and concerning another
1000 families of agricultural labourers in rural parishes of Warwickshire, under the same
limitations as to the age of the mother. When these returns were classified (see Table I., p.
246), 1 found the figures to run in such regular sequence as to make it certain that the
cases were sufficiently numerous to give trustworthy results. It appeared that
(A) The 1000 families of factory hands comprised 2681 children, and the 1000 of
agricultural labourers comprised 2911; hence, the children in the urban families, the
mothers being between the ages of 24 and 40, are on the whole about 8 per cent, less
numerous than the rural. I see no reason why these numbers should not be accepted as
relatively correct for families, in the ordinary sense of that word, and for mothers of all
ages. An inspection of the table does indeed show that if the selection had begun at an
earlier age than 24, there would have been an increased proportion of sterile and of small
families among the factory hands, but not sufficient to introduce any substantial
modification of the above results. It is, however, important to recollect that the small error,
whatever its amount may be, is a concession in favour of the towns.
(B) I next make an allowance for the mortality between childhood and maturity, which
will diminish the above figures in different proportions, because the conditions of town
life are more fatal to children than those of the country. No life tables exist for Coventry
and Warwickshire; I am therefore obliged to use statistics for similarly conditioned
localities, to determine the amount of the allowance that should be made. The life tables of
will afford the data for towns, and those of the Healthy Districts
suffice for the country. By applying these, we could calculate the number of the children
of ages specified in the census returns who would attain maturity. I regret extremely that
when I had the copies taken, I did not give instructions to have the ages of all the children
inserted; but I did not, and it is too late now to remedy the omission. I
It has greatly changed since this was written.
Seventh Annual Report of Registrar-General.
Healthy Districts Life Table, by Dr. Farr. Phil. Trans. Royal Society, 1859