Growth of Population in Eighteenth Century England.

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Account for the Growth of Population in Eighteenth Century England

During the Eighteenth Century Britain underwent an explosion in population of a magnitude unsurpassed anywhere else in Europe. When George I was crowned the population of Britain was estimated at 5.25 million. One Hundred years later this number had increased to the total of 10.25 million . But why did this huge increase in population occur? The answer can be found by observing the sociological and biological changes that occurred in Britain during this period. Specifically, the increase of fertility and marriage and the decrease in mortality rates.

Explaining the sink in mortality or the rise in fertility is an arduous task as records of births and deaths let alone why they happened are scarce and are rarely very scientific. After all, it was not until 1801 that the first census in Britain was compiled. There fore, particular caution must be taken in the use of statistical sources regarding this subject.

The second half of the eighteenth century saw a massive improvement in both life expectancy and mortality rates in Britain. There are two main reasons for this phenomenon. Firstly, and most importantly the first stumbling towards the eradication of many diseases that plagued Britain throughout the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries were implemented. For example: dysentery, influenza, small pox and whooping cough. The 1750s see a huge reduction in mortality from such diseases. Quarantine was introduced for imports from the Baltic States . Imports from Yugoslavia are widely regarded as responsible for the last outbreak of bubonic plague in Britain during 1665. Inoculation for small pox became available in the 1720s. This had a large impact on what was one of the main killers during the late seventeenth to early eighteenth century. In London there was a marked decrease...