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faced this point at all. He then asks me categorically the following questions :
(1) Does Mr. Booth think that statistics of a single date afford of themselves evidence of their own meaning and value ?
(2) And if not, by what statistical standard does he judge of the value and meaning of the one date statistics on which he rests his case ?
To the first question I can only answer, “ Yes.” There are endless statistics the interest of wbich is quite apart from any comparison of recurring periods. Statistics of military matters, for instance. But I need hardly give instances. The first value of all census statistics lies in such direct and immediate comparison of the numbers of the sexes-of married and single-of young and old ; or as to the various employments of the people ; or, it may be, comparison of one country with another in these particulars. It is only after successive enumerations have been made that a new value is found in periodic comparisons of results. In breaking new ground statistically, it is almost always the facts of one date that must serve. My own work has been mostly of this character. In dealing with the figures in question I attempted, by an analysis of Mr. Ritchie's return of 1892, to find out what were the conditions as to locality; as to industrial pursuits; as to proportion of old people; as to increasing or decreasing population; and as to the administration of the Poor Law; which were coincident with, and might be supposed to react upon-and possibly explain the extent of—pauperism in old age. As I wrote it five years ago, perhaps I may say that I think it was a good and ingenious piece of work ; but no one could be more alive than I was then and am now to its imperfections, or more thankful for such criticism as that of Mr. Loch, and the kind of assistance he is so well able to lend in the elucidation of a subject of great difficulty, some aspects of which are to me still (as he says) “ quite a conundrum."
I therefore do not wish to evade his second question, but in reply need only refer to the book itself, which step by step explains the methods it employs, and is, I think, very guarded in drawing conclusions.
Mr. Loch, however, takes exception to my material as well as to my methods. He does not like the plan of counting, as more or less pauperised, all who were relieved at all during twelve months. The one day count, which he prefers, no doubt best represents the burthen of pauperism, but, in my view, partly disguises the extent of pauperisation, and the wide margin we find between the two plans of counting gives some, though by no means an adequate, idea of the mass of poverty which lies continually on the verge of pauperism. He points to errors in the year's count from duplication, and, as regards London, with some reason; though I do not think the number who may have been counted twice in London would materially affect the figures, which are so large as to be able to stand some discount. I was, moreover, careful to isolate London in all my tables.
The figures of Mr. Ritchie's return, though a surprise to the public, were not so to me. They merely confirmed my previous calculations regarding the extent to which the twelve months' count might be expected to overrun the one day count in town and country respectively. Of the general and practical truth of that return I have no doubt whatever, and in advocating old age pensions, I have only needed to use the undeniable fact that of those over sixty-five in nearly all parts of England, and under almost all possible conditions, nearly 20 per cent. are constantly, and nearly 30 per cent. are either constantly or occasionally, constrained to seek relief under the poor law with the evidence that it was age, and nothing else, that brought this about, as the proportions so relieved are extraordinarily less below sixty-five, and rise steadily from sixty-five years of age upwards.
In my analysis of the condition of things now and during the last decade (1881–1891), I was not able to recognise to any very great extent the influence of the improved methods of administration with which Mr. Loch is identified. Where carried out completely, the results have indeed been wonderful, but the principles have not spread, and the instances of their application are rare. To this unfortunate negation, I believe, may be attributed the bitterness of Mr. Loch's attack, and it is in regard to this point especially that he refers to neglected material and a better method of enquiry. These, he claims, may be found in the use of the systematic returns of the not-able-bodied.
I said in my book that there were no recurrent statistics as to old age pauperism, and consequently no positive evidence as to increase or decrease ; but Mr. Loch rightly points out that the returns of the not-able-bodied throw some light on the subject, as a large proportion of these are the old, and the decrease shown in them must imply a decrease among the old. It is my failure to make use of these figures that he notices, and although I
1 In this conclusion I seem to be borne out by Mr. Yule's latest investigations. In the summary of a paper read before the Statistical Society, on 21st March, 1899, he says: “In the second decade . .. . apparently, change in out-relief ratio had hardly any effect. ..."
admit that I did not think of their possible application, I believe I shall show before I have done that as material they are rather difficult to handle.
Mr. Loch gives the figures of not-able-bodied pauperism per 1,000 of the population of England and Wales as follows: 1
Males. Females. Total. 1858............... 10:3 22:4 16:5 1872..... ..... 10.0 22.0 16:2
1892............... 5.2 12:3 8:8 and subjoins a more detailed table in order to develop his case; which is, that the old have to a very great extent shared in the improvement of the able-bodied, that their pauperism is gradually passing away, and thus needs no other treatment than the careful administration of the Poor Law and restriction of relief. His figures are as follows:
This table does not stand examination very well, but the mistakes in the figures make sometimes in favour of, as well as sometimes against, Mr. Loch's contention.
In the first place, the percentages given for 1851 are all incorrect, the returns of the Poor Law Board only covering 597 unions with a population of 15,428,116, whereas the above are calculated on a population of 17,927,609. There is a similar mistake in the figures given above for total not-able-bodied pauperism in 1858, which I believe should be 19.6 in place of 16-5 per 1,000.
Secondly, the column headed “all ages 16—60 on population 16—60" should read “ able-bodied of all ages 16—60.” The notable-bodied of these ages are omitted entirely in the above table.
Thirdly, nothing is said in the paper as to the method adopted to arrive at “those over sixty” by deducting from the not-ablebodied those below that age. I have, however, learnt from Mr. Loch privately that this has been effected by deducting 19 per cent.—this being, according to Mr. Loch, the proportion of those
1 S33 Economic JOURNAL, Sept., 1894.
under sixty in August or July, 1890, when Mr. Burt's special return of ages was made. I think the figure should be 18 per cent., but that is a small matter. What is really serious is, that Mr. Loch assumes that the proportion of those over sixty is a constant quantity. That is, he assumes that the rate of improvement in the condition of those under sixty has been no greater than that for those over sixty, and he makes this probably untenable assumption without any explanation to the reader.
Finally, the figures in the last column are very incorrect and misleading. For this calculation he starts with the assumed ratio 21.5 per cent. for pauperism amongst those over sixty in 1871 (a rate almost certainly too high), and then asserts that, if old age pauperism had decreased during the ten years at the same rate of decrease as pauperism in the active years of life [for the ablebodied being understood), it would in 1881 have been 13.8 per cent. for those over sixty in place of 15:1 per cent., a comparatively small difference. But not only are all the figures he uses untenable; the calculation is wrong also. We have here a comparison of ratios, a simple rule of three—as 1:5:17::21:5:(not 13.8 but) 10 per cent. Among the young and able-bodied the proportion of paupers fell to less than half of what it had been in 1871, and so 21:5 at the same rate of progress becomes 10 per cent. Or if instead of ten years we extend the comparison over twenty years, starting again, as the arrangement of the figures in the table seems to indicate, with 1871, we have this sum :
as 1:5:16::21:5 :(not 11:4 but) 8:6. No doubt another comparison may be made if we consider only the last decade 1881-91, but then we obtain a higher figure than the 11:4, thus: as .7::6::15:1:12:9.
I do not wish to make too much of these mistakes, nor to explain their origin, for in truth the statistics used are ill-adapted for the purpose to which they are turned. Nevertheless, partly to make what I have said more intelligible, and partly from a very keen interest in the subject, I am constrained to try to construct on the same lines a more correct table, taking my chance of falling, perhaps, into some similar errors, and with the fear of Mr. Yule and his mysterious methods constantly before my mind.
In doing this I am not satisfied to substitute sixty for sixty-five as Mr. Loch has done, for it is precisely at and after sixty-five that the great increase of pauperism is seen. Moreover, it is as easy to deduct all under sixty-five from the not-able-bodied returns as to deduct only those under sixty, and for sixty-five we have two dates at which the calculation can be made, that is, July
and August, 1890, by use of Mr. Burt's return, and 1st January, 1892, with Mr. Ritchie's return.
The first of these comparisons stands thus:
B return-Not-able-bodied (over 16) relieved 1 July, 1890, 350,882.
Persons in receipt of relief, of 60 years and upwards, Burt's ) 1 August, 1890, 286,867. return Persons in receipt of relief, of 65 years and upwards,
1 August, 1890, 245,687. As 350,882 : 286,867::100:81:8; therefore 18.2 per cent.) were
under 60. Or as 350,882: 245,687::100: 70; therefore 30 per cent. were under 65.
The other calculation for 1st January, 1892, is as follows:
B return-Not-able-bodied (over 16) relieved 1 January, 1892, 350,838.
Persons in receipt of relief, of 65 years and upwards, 1 January, 1892, 268,397.
As 350,838 : 268,397::100: 76.5; therefore 23.5 per cent. were under 65.
The fact that according to the B return there were practically the same number of not-able-bodied paupers over sixteen years of age relieved on 1st January, 1892, as on 1st July, 1890, indicates a very considerable improvement-winter being compared with summer. But it will be observed that those over sixty-five show an actual increase of 22,710 in number, and thus account for 76.5 per cent. in place of 70 per cent. eighteen months previously. This difference is undoubtedly explained by the winter season ; during which many old people seek refuge in the house, but may perhaps also include some permanent increase in the proportion of the old.
For the tables which are here inserted, A, B and C, I have used the 1st January returns and have taken as a basis the rough estimate that on 1st January, 1891, 75 per cent. of the notable-bodied were over sixty-five years of age. I then make two tables, in the first of which I adopt Mr. Loch's theory, that the proportion of the old remains unchanged from decade to decade —that is, in the present table is always 75 per cent.; this theory involves the assumption that those of the not-able-bodied who have not reached sixty-five have decreased in number in exact proportion to those of sixty-five years and upwards. In the second table I have adopted the opposite theory, viz., that those
This figure represents Mr. Loch's 19 per cent.