By M. W. Flinn (auth.)
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Additional resources for British Population Growth, 1700–1850
It is indeed by no means clear whether the period of high m01tality was of, say, twenty or thirty years' duration, beginning, therefore, some time in the early years of the eighteenth century, or whether in fact it is the tail-end of a much longer period of high mortality going well back into the seventeenth century. The PRA-based estimates generally agree in indicating the former, but may not do so reliably; aggregation from parish registers is less effective in demonstrating long-run than short-run shifts in the vital rates, and so cannot really make the necessary distinction.
JHortalityTHERE is the same sort of relationship between mortality and the death rate as that between fertility and the birth rate explained in the last section. VVhereas the death rate reports the number of deaths in a given period of time in relation to the total population, mortality is measured against the number of people 'at risk' in a particular age-group (age-specific mortality). Since the propensity to die varies very sharply at different ages, changes in the age-structure could, of themselves, produce changes in the death rate even while age-specific mortality remained constant.
See L. J. Saunders, Scottish Democracy, 1815-1840 (Edinburgh, 1950) pp. ) 41 vigour to have done much to offset the growth of the problem in working-class areas. So far as diet is concerned, while fine white bread may be pleasanter to eat than coarse dark bread, the effect of the substitution on mortality rates can hardly have been more than minimal. The really significant change in the diet of large sections of the population in the eighteenth century was surely the introduction of the potato, but though not neglected,1 the history of the potato in Britain has not yet been studied carefully in relation to the chronology of population growth.