Page images


The state of the American Population from 1800 to 1830 unfavourable to the Malthusian Theory.


As the Malthusian theory originated from calculations on the apparent population of the united provinces of North America, and has been adhered to chiefly on that account, I think it right to suggest some further considerations which seem to indicate, from its own elements, that it is not possible it can double itself in the alleged ratio of twenty-five years.

Human life, instead of being longer, appears to be briefer there than in most European countries; and yet the marriages are not much more prolific than is necessary to keep up a population to a subsisting amount. As the general impression has been very contrary to this, I will explain the facts and reasoning on which my conclusion has been formed.

We find, from the North American census of 1800, that in the United States at that date nearly one third of the white population was under ten years of age; that above half of it were under sixteen years, and nearly two thirds under twentysix ;* so that not much more of their living males than one

leagues; his conquests added to it 20,000 more. Catharine I. and Peter II. also enlarged it. The Empress Anne obtained 88,000 square leagues, so that, at the end of her reign, Russia contained 641,048 square leagues. Catharine II. extended largely its aggrandizement, and even Paul I., so that in 1799 it comprised 698,944 square leagues. Under Alexander, by various events and treaties, and since, it was so enlarged as to comprise, in 1834, 725,780 square leagues, having gained 210,000 square leagues in one century, and all rich and fertile provinces."--Russland's Territorial Vergræsserans. It was then under forty-three eparchies or governments. * In the census of 1800, the free white males were returned as being 2,194,225; of these, the first class, under ten years, were 715,046. Those above this age, but under sixteen, were 343,650, making, together, 1,058,696 males under sixteen. Those of sixteen and under twentysix were 393.934. Thus the males in 1800, under twenty-six years old, were 1,452,630 out of 2,194.225. This was rather less than two thirds, as these would have been 1,462,816.-Gen. View of Un. States, P. 53.

third was then above twenty-six years of age, and not above one eighth of them had reached forty-five.*

These facts show us how limited the number of the fathers of the new population could not but be. Not one half of the existing race could be so, even if all had married at sixteen ; not one third were alive to have offspring at the age of twentyIx, and only one eighth at the mature period of forty-five. The mortality implied by these proportions is unfavourable to any large increase.

Ten years afterward, in the census of 1810, we find these relative amounts continuing much the same. Above one third were then under ten years; above half were under sixteen ;† not one third were above twenty-six; and not one eighth were above forty-five.‡

In the official census of the next decennial period, 1820, we find nearly the same proportions still subsisting. There also above one third of the males were under ten; not quite a moiety were under sixteen; above two thirds were under twentysix; and not one eighth were more than forty-five.) What country in Europe presents to us a greater abbreviation of human life than these numbers-one eighth only above fortyfive!

The numbers who had attained twenty-six, but were under fortyfive, were returned to be 478,520, leaving only 263,075, who were fortyfive years of age and upward, out of the 2,194,225.-Gen. View of Un. States, p. 53.

1 In 1810, the free white males had increased to 2,988,141; of these, those returned as under ten were 1,035,278; those of ten and under sixteen were 468,183 more, making 1,503,461. The number of those who had reached sixteen, but were under twenty-six, was 547,597. Hence 2,051,058 males were under twenty-six years of age out of 2,988,141, or more than two thirds; for the two thirds would have been only 1.992,026 Hence fewer were twenty six and above in 1810 than in 1900, as if human life had there rather lessened in duration during those ten years instead of increasing.

The males of twenty-six and under forty-five were found to be 572.347, and only 364,736 males were of forty-five and upward out of 2.9,141, which were not an eighth part, as this would have been 273,517; so that above seven eighths were under forty-five in 1810. The numbers returned in this census were of free white males :--1st class, under 10 2d 44

of 10, under 16

[merged small][ocr errors]

of 16, under 26

of 26, under 45

[blocks in formation]

of 45 and upward.

[ocr errors]







One third of these would have been 1,331,684; one half, 1,997,526; two thirds, 2,663,368; and one eighth would have been 499,381,

The census of 1830 was taken with a different division of Here the ages; but the results are of a similar complexion. also nearly one third of the males were under ten years of age. The next age distinguished was fifteen instead of sixteen; consequently those under fifteen did not amount to a moiety; and it is probable that those under sixteen were also less than half at this period.† Above five ninths, or nearly a ninth more than a half, were under twenty; consequently not four ninths of the males had reached twenty years of age. Nearly three fourths were under thirty; but above one seventh were above forty; and not one twelfth had reached fifty. The proportion of those who were sixty and above was not one twenty-fifth part ;** and those who

* The summary of this census is given in the "General View of the United States," p. 55, and also in Flint's "Mississippi Valley," vol. ii., p. 214-229-thus: free white persons

Males under 5


66 of

5 and under 10


[blocks in formation]


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

-5,358,569 Flint, p. 228.

† One half would have been 2,679,284. Those enumerated as under fifteen amounted to 2,426,519; and if we take one fifth of those between fifteen and twenty as an average addition for those one year older, this would make the number under sixteen to be 2,541,642.

The males living under twenty were 3,002,133; five ninths would have been 2,976,988; those, then, of twenty and above were 2,381,581; four ninths would have been 2,381,591.

Those under thirty were 3,955,035; three fourths of the whole would have been 4,018,927; so that not one fourth were above thirty.

Those under forty were 4,547,631, and only 810,938 above thirtynine; one seventh would have been 765,509. If we add one tenth of those returned as between forty and fifty, for those who became forty, it would make those above forty to be 802,446.

One twelfth would have been 446,547; the numbers returned of, fifty and above were 441,758.

**The numbers under sixty were 5,147,311, leaving 211,258 for those of sixty and upward; one twenty-fifth part of all would have been 214,342.

were seventy were not quite a seventieth part of all their living males. Certainly, as far as the masculine elements of population go, their duration of life was too abridged for a series of four decennial periods to admit of anything like a geometrical augmentation. We may infer, that those who desire long life should not immigrate or settle in the United States; or, at least, not until some of their present habits of life are considerably altered; they will live longer in any part of Europe, except in some of its southern climates. †

The female world of the United States are not longer lived. In 1800, more than one third were under ten, and nearly a half under sixteen ;t and if we take the period from that year to forty-five, as the time during which the sex can be mothers, we find that not two fifths were of this age. So that these two fifths of the American females had to renew all the white population of both sexes in the United States; and, upon calculation, we perceive that they could not do this unless every one that could have a family was actually married, and each one so married had between six and seven children. They could not even replace themselves and the rest of their citizen contemporaries unless every one of those who in 1800 were marriageable presented, upon an average of all, above six and a half to the state.|| To produce any multiplication of the population beyond what it was, each of the then marrages must of course have on the average more than this proportion. But this proportion is beyond the usual rate of births to marriages even in North America, and therefore this fact

*Of seventy and upward, there were only 76,348 out of the 5,358,569; One seventieth part would have been 76,550.

In arriving at this conclusion, Mr. Turner has forgotten the influence of immigration. It is well known that a very large proportion of immitrants, probably nine in ten, are young men and women; either unmarned, or, if married, with very young children. It is comparatively rare to see an immigrant of forty years old or upward.-Am. É4.

In the census of 1800, the white females were returned to be 2,115,431. Of these, 726,774 were under ten; 323,906 were of ten and under sixteen, making, together, 1,050,680; one third of the whole would have been 705,143; one hair, 1,057,715.

The numbers of fernales stated to have been above fifteen and under forty-five were 809,760; two fifths would have 846,172.

All the free white population in 1800 composed, in both sexes, $309,75 persons. Now, for 809,760 mothers to produce a new genera tion of the same number, to take the place of the old one, without any Rugmentation of it, each of these must have above 64 children on an average, as 109,760 multiplied by 64 gives but 5,263,440.


concurs, with the shortened lives of the male sex, to make a doubling in twenty-five years physically impossible.


In the census of 1810, the females who then could be mothers could only replace their contemporaries and themselves by every one having five children; for there, above one third were under ten, nearly one half were under sixteen,t and not two fifths were between fifteen and forty-five.t For those who only could be mothers to renew the existing population, every one must have above five children. Similar results arise from the population of 1820, and likewise in the altered scale of 1830.¶ In the last, nearly one third

In the census of 1810 the white females were returned to be 2,873,950; of those under ten years were 981,426; one third would have been 957,983.

Under sixteen were 1,429,748; one half would have been 1,436,975. Of sixteen and under forty-five were 1,105,824; two fifths would have been 1,149,580.

The whole white population of 1810 were :


[blocks in formation]


Now five times 1,105,824, the number of women between fifteen and forty-five, would be 5,529,120; so that every marriageable female must have, upon an average of all, above five children each, in order to reinstate only the number of the then existing generation, without any


The census of 1820 returned 3,866,657 free white females, of the following ages:

Under 10

of 10 and under 16

of 16 and under 26

of 26 and under 45

of 45 and upward






TT In the census of 1830, we find the free white females to have been

Under 5 years

thus classed :




5 and under 10 10 and under 15



[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



20 and under 30



30 and under 40


[blocks in formation]


[blocks in formation]



60 and under 70



70 and under 80


[blocks in formation]


[blocks in formation]


of 100 and upward

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »