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

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St James's 1860

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for St James's, Westminster]

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" Westminster, has an infantile death rate almost
" precisely corresponding to that of the river
" district of St. George-in-the-East, and exceeding
" that of Poplar, Clerkenwell, and Bethnal Green."
On the data on which he has proceeded, this is
undoubtedly true; but I would remind you that
this conclusion has been arrived at from the estimate
of the number of infants living in the Parish
in 1841, and that from the uncertainty of ascertaining
the age of infants at one year and under, the
Registrar-General did not estimate the children
living at one year and under in 1857. I would
also observe, that children are often registered as
"one year" old, whether they are a few weeks
older or younger, and this may lead to erroneous
conclusions. I think, however, we may fairly
estimate the number of children living at one year
old by the number born. In the year 1860 this
was 910, and from our Tables we find that 183
children are registered as having died in the same
year. This mortality would give us 20 in the 100,
instead of the 21 calculated by Dr. Gardiner; and
our infant mortality would from this appear to be this
year slightly improved. In the three previous years
our average infantile death rate to the general death
was as 1 in 10, or very nearly approaching Dr.
Gardiner's estimate.
The influence of season on death is illustrated
by the above Tables. For instance, we find that
for the last four years, whilst the deaths have been
210, 213, and 205 respectively for the first, second,