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Census

population, england, houses, people, wales, periods and inquiry

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CENSUS. Before the first enumera tion of the people of this country, in 1801, the number of the population was a fruitful topic with party writers. By some it was contended. that England was far less populous than it had been for merly. Arthur Young, writing in 1769, states (vol. iv. p. 556, Northern Tour') that these writers asserted we had lost a million and a half of people since the Revolution. Even so intelligent a writer as Dr. Price was of opinion that in 1780 England and Wales contained no more than 4,763,000 souls. The increase of manufactures, and the greater abundance of employment, which had of course the effect of raising wages, might also be re garded from another, though a one-sided point of view, as the result of the decline of population. It was in vain to tell such persons that all the circumstances of the country were favourable to the in crease of population ; and that while agri culture was improving, manufactures and commerce rapidly extending, wages higher, and provisions continued at a reasonable price, it was not in the nature of things that population should even continue stationary, but that it would be most likely to increase with great ra f»dity. It is now known that the popu lation of England increased upwards of two millions and a quarter between 1750 and the end of the century ; but it was not until a census was actually taken that an end was put to the disputes as to the amount of the population.

Having once obtained an enumeration of the people, it has been possible to ap ply the facts to antecedent periods, in order to form an approximative estimate of the amount of population. This task was undertaken by the late Mr. Rick man, who, in 1836, addressed a circular leper to the clergy throughout England and Wales, asking for their assistance in preparing returns from the parish regis ters of the births, marriages, and deaths at different periods. Out of about ten thou sand parishes in England, one-half possess registers which were commenced prior to 1600, and of these, three-fourths com Commie as early as the year 1570. From these registers Mr. Rickman was supplied with the number of births, marriages, and deaths for six periods, each embrac ing three consecutive years, from which he calculated the average population of each period. It was then assumed that

the births, marriages, and deaths were in the same proportion to the population of each period as in 1801. The result of Mr. Rickman's estimate, according to his mode of calculation, showed that the po pulation of England and Wales in each of the following years was as under: England. Wales.

1570 3,737,841 301,038 1600 4,460,454 351,264 1630 5,225,263 375,254 1670 5,395,185 378,461 1700 5,653,061 391,947 1750 6,066,041 450,994 1. Census of 1801.—The first census of Great Britain was limited to the follow ing objects: 1, The number of indivi dual inhabitants in each parish, distin guishing males from females; 2, The number of inhabited houses, and the number of families inhabiting the same in each parish ; 3, The number of unin habited houses ; 4, A classification of the employment of individuals into the great divisions of agriculture, trade, manu factures and handicraft, and a specifica tion of the numbers not included in either of those divisions ; 5, The number of persons serving in the regular army, the militia, and the embodied local militia. The inquiry under the fourth head en tirely failed, through "the impossibility," as Mr. Rickman states, of deciding whether the females of the family, chil dren, and servants, were to be classed as of no occupation, or of the occupation of the adult males of the family. (State ment of Progress under Pop. Act of 1830.) The results of the census were, however, very valuable in putting an end to doubts and controversy on the subject of the numbers of the people.

2. Census of I 811.—The second census embraced all the points which were the subject of inquiry in 1801; but the question respecting the number of houses was subdivided, so as to distinguish the number of houses building, which, in the census, were classed under the head of uninhabited houses. With a view also of obtaining a more accurate return of the occupations of the people, the form of inquiry under this head was modified so as to ascertain, 1st, What number of fa milies (not persons, as in 1801) were chiefly employed in or maintained by agriculture ; 2nd, How many by trade, manufactures, and handicraft ; and, 3rd, The number of families not comprised in either class.

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