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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 24

XXI.—Vital Statistics

XXI.—Vital Statistics.

The great disparity between the number of males and females in New Zealand must not be lost sight of, in considering the various page 25 features of its vital statistics. In England, the males number about 49 per cent., and the females about 51 per cent, of the total population. In the colony in December, 1875, the males were 56?8, the females 43?2 per cent., but the disparity is annually decreasing.

Year. Estimated Mean Population of New Zealand. Births, Marriages, and Deaths. Numerical. Proportion to every 1000 of Population. Births. Marriages. Deaths Births. Marriages Deaths. 1866 197,360 8,466 2,038 2,540 42.89 10.32 12.86 '67 211,39' 8,918 2,050 2,702 42.18 9.69 12.78 '68 222,825 9,391 2,085 2,662 42.14 9.35 11.94 '69 231,934 9,718 1,931 2,721 41.90 8.32 11.73 '70 242,824 10,277 1,851 2,703 42.32 7.62 11.13 1871 260,630 10,592 1,864 2,642 40.64 7.15 10.13 '72 273,273 10,795 1,873 3,194 39.50 6.85 11.68 '73 287,752 11,222 2,276 3,645 38.99 7.90 12.66 '74 320,687 12,844 2,828 4,161 40.05 8.81 12.97 '75 358,858 14,138 3,209 5,712 40.23 8.94 15.92 Increase per cent.— 1871-75 on 1866-70 — 28 21 45 — — — '74-75 on '66-67 — 57 47 88 — — —

The following is the Proportion of Marriages and Deaths to the Living Population for the Ten Years 1866-75.

The birth, marriage, and death-rates in England are respectively 35, 17, and 24 per 1,000, but a fair comparison cannot be made between them and the similar rates for New Zealand, as the ages of the two populations must differ very widely. The colony is so young that her population has not had time to mature, and to possess its due share of aged people to swell the deaths, while the large immigration consists principally of persons in the prime of life and children. The same causes account for the high birth-rate, which, however, has a downward tendency.

For the reasons which I have mentioned, a comparison between the death-rates at all ages and from all causes in England and New Zealand would obviously not prove of any use in measuring the comparative salubrity of the two climates.

The mortality in New Zealand during the year 1875 was exceptionally heavy, and exceeded the rate of the preceding year by about 3 per 1,000. The Registrar-General in his report remarks that "the increase appears to have been general in all classes of "disease. While the proportion of zymotic disease as a whole was "slightly increased, the proportion of deaths from miasmatic page 26 "diseases was rather less. Measles in 1875 was epidemic in "nearly all the provinces." In the appendix will be found two tables, the two last columns of which give the percentages of deaths from all causes in the colony in 1875, and those in England during the ten years 1861-70, for males and females. The most striking points in these tables fare the excessive mortality from zymotic disease, and the lightness of the rates from phthisis in New Zealand as compared with England :—

Males. Females. New Zealand. England. New Zealand. England. Zymotic disease 26.3 20.8 35.5 21.7 Phthisis 6.5 10.8 5.1 11.7

The towns of the colony are responsible for much of the excessive mortality from zymotic disease. Thus 32?7 per cent, of the whole of the deaths in the seven towns of Auckland, Thames, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Hokitika, resulted from zymotic disease, while in the rest of the colony only 28?7 per cent, of the total deaths were attributable to this class. Much of the zymotic disease throughout the country may be ascribed to inattention to sanitary conditions, and this no doubt is greatly intensified in the towns.

The comparison between the proportion of deaths from phthisis in New Zealand and England is very favourable to the colony, notwithstanding the large proportion of her population which is passing through the ages when that disease is most liable to show itself.