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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Death Rate

Death Rate.

The salubrity of the climate is further demonstrated by a brief reference to the death rates, which, however, I give for the whole colony, extending over a ten years' period, ending 1890, the average being 10.3 per thousand per annum, whereas the other Australasian colonies have varied from 11.2 to 22.9, showing a very much higher average. In England, Scotland, and Ireland the death rates per thousand were for the nine years ending 1889 respectively, 18.9, 18.8, and 18, the average being 18.5 for the entire period, an advantage on the comparison of 8.2 per thousand per annum for the entire period. It is only fair, however, that some allowance should be made for the larger proportion of younger people included in our population when compared with that of Great Britain. This allowance has been computed at 2.28 per thousand per annum, which, deducted from the margin of page 19 8.2, leaves 5.92 per thousand per annum as the net balance in favour of New Zealand's climate. If we look specially at the death rate in children under five years old, it will be found that in New Zealand it is much lower than in either of the other Australasian colonies, and only about one-half the rate of England. It is to this fact principally that we are indebted for our low death rate. Notwithstanding also the fact that large numbers of persons suffering from phthisis are constantly arriving in the colony, the number of deaths from this cause is considerably less than in any of the other Australian colonies (save Tasmania), and is little more than half the rate of England. In my own experience I have known many who came to the colony apparently to die of this fell scourge, but owing to the remarkable climate have become strong and healthy, and appeared by their robust health to have entirely outgrown the trouble.

From these figures I think it will be admitted that the colony bears the palm for salubrity of climate. Fog is almost unknown. I speak, of course, by comparison, and what would be termed a foggy day in New Zealand would hardly be specially remarked in England. The charm of our climate consists in the bright clear days of delightful sunshine, followed even after our most scorching summer days by clear cool nights, when you hardly need to throw off the blanket on your bed. In the North Island frosts are very few, and usually of very short duration. During the months of May to August occasionally two or three chilly mornings exhibiting a beautiful white frost early in the day occur. The genial sunshine that follows speedily disperses the same. A brisk winter's day with such a frost, a clear blue sky overhead, and everything dry underfoot, by 10 a.m. is most enjoyable. The hottest weather I have ever experienced in New Zealand has not affected me so much as your weather usually occurring in the dog days of July, and this is purely on account of the great relief afforded by our delightfully cool nights.