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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 41

Marriages, Births, and Deaths

Marriages, Births, and Deaths.

22. Marriages in Victoria numbered 4986 in 1879, or 5.61 to every 1000 of the population. This rate is low as compared with that which prevailed in Victoria formerly, but the decline has resulted not from any disinclination to marry on the part of either sex, or from inability to support a family, but from the number of single men at marriageable ages being abnormally small in proportion to the total population. This has arisen from the fact that at the time immigrants flocked to the colony in the early days of the gold discoveries, these consisted, to a very large extent, of adults without a corresponding proportion of younger persons, so that when immigration became very much reduced, there was an insufficient youthful class growing up to supply the places of those adults who had married, died, or left the colony. In proportion to the marriageable men living, the number marrying is, at the present time, as great as it was at any period of the colony's history. Births in 1879 numbered 26,839, or 30.21 per 1000 of the population. Owing to the same causes as those which have affected the marriage rate, the birth rate is not so high as formerly. Deaths in 1879 numbered 12,120, or 13.64 per 1000 of the population. This is a low proportion, especially for a country where the number of persons at the adult or strongest period of life is below the average. Seventeen deaths per 1000 persons living has been held by high authority to be a natural rate of mortality in countries where adults and children exist in their normal proportions, but few countries can boast of so low a rate. The births in 1879 exceeded the deaths by 14,719, or 121 per cent.