Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bills of Mortality 1820

Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Loretta reports:

Given the state of medicine in the early 1800s, it’s amazing that anybody survived into his or her nineties, let alone to a hundred or more.  But my Annual Registers offer proof that a handful of people did live to 100 and beyond.  They also offer sad proof of the high rate of infant mortality.

The illustration is from a page of the 1820 Annual Register (a lot happened that year, and it goes to two volumes, of which I have only one).  For easier reading, I've retyped the top part below.

A GENERAL BILL OF ALL THE CHRISTENINGS AND BURIALS, WITHIN THE BILLS OF MORTALITY*, FROM DECEMBER 14, 1819 TO DECEMBER 12, 1820.

Christened—in all 23,158….Males 11,993….Females 11,165

Buried—in all 19,348....Males 9794....  Females 9554

Whereof have died under 2 years..4758
Between 2 and 3 years………………….1795
5 and 10……………………………………….. 887
10 and 20……………………………………… 667
20 and 30……………………………………..1484
30 and 40……………………………………..2006
40 and 50……………………………………..2069
50 and 60……………………………………..1878
60 and 70……………………………………..1632
70 and 80……………………………………..1208
80 and 90……………………………………… 662
90 and 100……………………………………. 119
100……………………………………………………2
101……………………………………………………0
102……………………………………………………1
103……………………………………………………0
The causes of death make interesting and puzzling reading.  “Stoppage in the stomach”????

*“within the bills of mortality” means London.  You can find additional interesting statistics here.

7 comments:

Lyn S said...

The U.S. CDC publishes Morbidity and Mortality Weekly. I always thought that was the greatest publication title. It is odd how we think of death. Victorian children played funeral. I just had Barbie weddings. Can you imagine the reaction to a Barbie funeral director doll?

Bearded Lady said...

It must have been such a different feeling having a young child then. Mothers must have looked at their children and constantly wondered - will they survive? It shows that surviving infancy was the first big hurdle in life.

Also, it makes you think about the reasons why children were dressed androgynously. I have often wondered if people were afraid to give children an identity in case they didn't survive their youth.

Thanks for the record. great posts as always!

nightsmusic said...

It doesn't surprise me that people lived a long time then. There are families who still have those genes or whatever they are, that allow families a long life. My dad's mother died in the early 70's at 93. His sister died in 2000 at 93. He died in 2001 at 93. His great grandparents were both over 97 when they died in the early 1900's.

Was it a rarity? Yes, I'm sure it was. But I think the misconception most 'modern' people have that each generation tends to live a bit longer hasn't got as much to do with the gene pool as it does with advances in medicine. I have to wonder how many people would have lived much, much longer lives with antibiotics alone.

And an aside? Beautiful picture of lilies. I hate lilies ;o) Mostly because when I was young was about the time many people on both sides of my family were old and began dying off. Seemed we were at a funeral four or five times a year. Every one of them had lilies everywhere.

ugh

I know, TMI ;op

Jenny Girl said...

Being a "medical records librarian" by trade, I love reading stuff like this. I think it's quite interesting how deaths were classified. The birth of early statistics :)
Thank you for sharing.

Beth said...

What is an annual register? What area did it cover?

Susan Holloway Scott said...

Beth, I'd ordinarily leave this to Loretta to answer, but she's been off at a family reunion and not near a computer. I can, however, offer this Wikipedia entry to answer far better than I can:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annual_Register

Loretta should be back tomorrow to add more...:)

Leah Marie Brown said...

Interesting indeed. In researching the novel I am presently working on, I discovered that 6000 babies were abandonded in Paris in 1780 and most of them died of malnourishment. We take some things, like food and quality medical care, for granted here in the US, don't we?

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