Hints from the Health Department. Leaflet from the archive of the Society of Medical Officers of Health. Credit: Wellcome Collection, London
[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for London County Council]
Report of the County Medical Officer—General.
steady rise throughout the succeeding 5 year and 10 year age-periods. But, in earlier years (in 1851
and 1861 for example) the rise of mortality from the minimum at 10-15 is at first quite steep, and then
after 25 years of age becomes markedly less steep, rising again of course in steepness as later ages are
reached. This marked increase of incidence of mortality on males aged 15-25, in England, becomes greatly
exaggerated (p. 265) in the case of France, and more especially is this observed in years of war (e.g.,
1871); it remains, however, still noticeable in the curve for France even as late as 1892. The raised
mortality at ages 15-25, in the earlier years, has in fact, in England, in 1881 and 1831, been completely
smoothed away, and this phenomenon closely corresponds with all that is known as to the excessive
incidence of phthisis upon young adults in the fifties and sixties, the great extent of migration in those
and in succeeding decades, and the shifting of the high incidence of phthisis to later age-periods in more
recent decades (loc. cit). The less marked smoothing away of the excessive incidence upon young adults,
in later decades in France, may correspond with the lesser disposition of the French to leave their own
country. A similar phenomenon is apparent in curves constructed from the figures of decennial periods.
Thus on the accompanying diagram "C" the curves relating to the death-rate from all causes, especially
for the earlier decennia, while exhibiting generally concavity (viewed from above) show convexity, at
the ages 15 to 25. The lower part of the diagram relating to death rates from phthisis, exhibits a
similar tendency to development of a convex protruberance at the same age periods in the earlier
decennia, and this convexity becomes smoothed away in later decennia as in the case of the death-rates
from all causes. (See also, note on the behaviour of the curve showing female death-rates, London
Life Table, 1901-1910, appended to this chapter.)
M. Cauderlier's curves are referred to here because of their great interest in connection with the
birth-rate. They clearly show that a distinctly excessive number of deaths must be associated with
the age period 15-25, in 1851 and 1861, in England, and it is also recognised that persons of those ages
yielded a specially excessive number of births. It has been suggested elsewhere (vide supra) that
migration has markedly affected the death-rates and the question arises, therefore, whether it may not
have played some part in determining variations of the birth-rate. It seems indeed probable that
were it possible, in addition to the corrections which have been deemed essentially necessary
for a "correct method of stating fertility," to make full corrections for delayed age at marriage
as it affects males, and for alterations produced in the population as a whole by loss of some sections
and addition to it of other sections, very considerable change in the crude birth rates would be brought
about. The fact might perhaps emerge, that correction for all these natural factors tending to influence
the birth-rate, yielded true birth-rates presenting relatively small variations from one year to another.
In such event it would be unnecessary to go outside natural causes for explanation of the recent decline
of the birth-rate.
Were births in other towns similarly corrected considerable modification of these rates might result.
Were births in other towns similarly corrected considerable modification of these
rates might result.
There is considerable different in practice as to the registration and allocation of births occurring in these foreign towns, and the rates shown must, therefore, be regarded as affording material for only approximate comparison.
There is considerable different
in practice as to the registration and allocation of births occurring in these foreign towns, and the rates
shown must, therefore, be regarded as affording material for only approximate comparison.
(a) See footnote (6) page 4.