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Of the 25,974,439 persons enumerated, 12,639,902 were males and 13,334,537 were This gives an excess of 694,635 females over males, an excess which would, however, be reduced to 547,095 if the English and "Welsh members of the army, navy, merchant service abroad were included in the reckoning.

To each 100 males enumerated in England and Wales there were 105.5 females. A similar preponderance of females exists in almost all European countries, there being two of them, namely, Greece and Bulgaria, in which the males are in the majority, two, namely Belgium and Italy, in which the sexes almost exactly balance each numerically.

Preponderance of females

This almost universal preponderance of females in the populations of Europe is the more curious, inasmuch as it is a law, to which, so far as we are aware, there is no exception., that the male births in a community invariably outnumber the female births, The physiological explanation of this fact is not yet ascertained with any certainty. But there are some reasons for believing that one at any rate of the causes that determine the sex of an infant is the relative ages of its father and mother, the offspring having a tendency to be of the same sex as its elder parent. As a general rule, the father is the elder parent, and thus it would follow that males would predominate among the offspring. In England and Wales the proportion of males to females among infants born in the years 1871 to 1880 was 103.8 of the former to 100 of the latter sex; and, though the ratio is not exactly the same in every country, yet in all, as before said, the rule holds good that more boys are born than girls. This original predominance of the male sex is, however, soon lost, and the relative proportions of the sexes inverted, as we shall have occasion presently to show at greater length, by the much higher death-rate of the males.

Gradual increase in proportion of females

The proportion of females to males has been slightly but steadily increasing in England and Wales since 1851, having been in the last four successive censuses 104.2, 105.3, 105.4, and 105.5.

The actual rate of increase in the last ten years was 14.30 per cent. for males, and 14.43 for females. But the "natural increment" of the males, that is to say, the number of male births minus the number of male deaths, was 1,704,435, or 15.4 per cent. of the male population in 1871, while the "natural increment" of the females was 1,722,045, or only 14.8 per cent. of the female population. From this it follows that the 164,307 persons who, as before (p. 7) pointed out, constituted the balance of emigrants over immigrants, consisted of 123,467 males and 40,840 females, and that the slight increase in the proportion of females in the enumerated population was entirely due to this excess of male emigrants. Had there been neither emigration nor immigration, the proportion of females to 100 males would have been 104.8, and not 105.5 as it was in fact.

Males. Females.
Persons enumerated in 1871 11,058,934 11,653,332
Births minus deaths (April 1871 - April 1881) 1,704,435 1,722,045
Population in 1881 by "natural increment" only 12,763,369 13,375,377
Population enumerated in 1881 12,639,902 13,334,537
Difference, or excess of emigrants over Immigrants * 123,467 40,840
* For interpretation of the terms Emigrant and Immigrant, see foot-note, p.7.

Difference between counties in regard to proportion of sexes

The relative proportions of the sexes differed very considerably in the different counties, and in nine of them the males were actually more numerous than the females. Moreover, the differences presented by the counties in this matter were clearly not due to accidental or temporary conditions, but were brought about by some tolerably persistent cause; for the order in which the counties stand, when classed by the relative proportions of females in their populations, has been almost the same for several successive censuses. In the last five enumerations Cardiganshire has invariably stood at one end of the list, while at the other, or close to it, as invariably have come Glamorganshire, Monmouthshire, and Durham. This is not to be explained by any differences in the proportions of boy-births to girl-births; for, though such, differences do in fact exist between different counties, yet they are too inconstant and too slight to have any very appreciable influence in the matter, and, moreover, these differences in the births' do not tally with the differences in the population see Appendix A., Table 17.). In Cardiganshire, for instance, the proportion of girls to boys in the births has been, on the whole, rather lower than in the country at large, and yet this is the country in which the population has always contained proportion of females. The true explanation is doubtlessly to be found in the differences between counties in regard to occupations. Males and females congregate respectively in those parts that offer them, the best chance of employment. It, in obvious that the high proportion of males in Durham, Monmouthshire, Glamorganshire, Staffordshire, and Derbyshire is due to the mining industries of those counties. On the, oilier hand, the high proportion of females in London with the adjoining parts of Surrey and Middlesex, as also in Sussex, is clearly due to the flocking in of young women to nerve as domestic. servants, dressmakers, shop assistants, &c.; while in Bedfordshire the still greater excess of the female sex is to be attributed to the strawplaiting and lacemaking carried on extensively in that county. But it must be confessed that such obvious explanations are not forthcoming in all cases. There is no obvious reason, for instance, why Cardiganshire should always, census after census, have a higher proportion of females than any other county. Still, it cannot be doubted that in this, and in other similar cases, close examination of the occupation tables for the two sexes, aided by local knowledge, would show that here as elsewhere the proportions of the two sexes are mainly determined by the amount of employment open to them respectively.

Changes in the proportion of the sexes at successive age-periods

The proportion of males to females at the time of birth is, as was mentioned before, 103.8 of the former to 100 of the latter. This numerical advantage is, however, soon lost by the males, owing to their much higher death-rate. It has vanished, as may be seen in the age-tables, by the end of the first year of life; and at each subsequent age-period, with one exception, the females in this country outnumber the males, and in increasing proportions.

The exceptional period in which the females are equalled or slightly outnumbered by the males is the 10 and under 15 years age-period. We have elsewhere expressed our belief that the number of girls living at this age is somewhat understated in our tables, owing to many girls who are under 15 representing themselves to be above that age in order to get more readily into domestic service. But this cannot, be the full explanation of the matter; for a somewhat similar change in the relative proportions of the sexes at this age-period is noticeable in the census returns of other countries, for instance, in Germany, in France, in Italy, and in Greece, and must, therefore, be due to some influence or agency common to them all. The probable cause is the critical change that occurs about this period in the female organisation.

In the next age-period, 15 and under 20, the enumerated females are again slightly in excess of the enumerated males. This at first seems strange, inasmuch as this age-period is one in which common experience teaches that the risk to female life is comparatively high. The explanation is to be found in the absence of those young men from the enumeration, who are serving abroad in the army and navy. When these are taken into account, the males are still, as in the immediately preceding acre-period, slightly the more numerous.

In every age-period after this the females are the more numerous, and the excess is greater than can be accounted for by the absence of men serving in the army and navy. In any comparison, however, of the relative proportion of the sexes at any one of these age-periods, it must be remembered that considerable uncertainty exists on account of the great amount of misstatement of age on the part of women; and that the general consequence of such misstatement is to increase the apparent proportion of females to males at the earlier periods, and to diminish the proportion at the later periods. This misstatement of age is, however, a matter of which we shall have to speak again (pp. 18-19).

1 For references to tables see foot-note to page 6.

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