London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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St Mary (Battersea) 1890

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Battersea]

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It is well, however, to point out that even should the
population be over estimated to the extent of 10,000 persons,
the real death-rate in that case would only be 1.75 per thousand
higher. At all events, all sanitary districts are in a similar
difficulty, and if we err, we do so in very excellent company.
The arguments in favour of a quinquennial census for the
large towns, obviously are that a more accurate knowledge of
the real population would be always attainable; and in addition
to this it may be urged that the Registrar General's department
has to make a great and most expensive augmentation of
its forces for some years at each censal period, only to be
broken up when its records are completed; whereas an
enumeration of the people taken every five years would occupy
a smaller, less expensive, and more useful because more efficient
staff, permanently.
Table I. shews that the natural increase of the population,
that is the excess of births over deaths during 1889 was 1,528;
singularly enough the same number as in 1888, and tending
inter alia to shew that the population is somewhat stationary.
The calculated increase of population for the year is 2,948,
which would leave a balance to be made up by immigration of
1,420. This table also shews the births and deaths with their
respective rates for the ten preceding years.
Births. The births of 2,411 children, 1,267 males and 1,144
females, were registered during 1889, being one hundred and
two less in number than in the preceding year. The birth rate
was equal to 30.73 per thousand, by far the lowest rate recorded
for the district. This decrease, as Table I. shews, appears to
be a permanently progressive one, as is indeed the case with
the Metropolis at large. Whether the lowered birth rate
results from the greater mean age of the population, the result
of lives saved by improved sanitary conditions: or greater

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