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Per cent. of Popu. lation
No. of Paupers.
Per cent. of Popu
392,245 189,839 112,952 338,858
235,478 98,794 91,299 273,899
225,652 107,071 100,067 300,202
Total of Pauper3...... 816,915 5:30 856,673 4.27 1,033,894 4.55
Total of Paupers
816,915 5.30 856,673 4.27
4.55 740,349 2.85 699,470 2:41 The above Table assumes that the not-able-bodied froin 16 to 65 have decreased in same proportion as the able-bodied of those ages.
Total of Paupers.....
2.85 The above Table represents the mean between Tables A and B.
under sixty-five have decreased in numbers proportionately to the able-bodied of same ages.
These theories may perhaps be accepted as representing the extremes on either hand. It is certainly improbable that the not-able-bodied under sixty-five should not have shared in some degree the exceptional improvement of the able-bodied, and perhaps no less improbable that they should have shared it to the full extent, when we bear in mind the greater tenderness felt for the sick and the great improvement in the management of sick asylums. I have therefore added a third table giving the mean result. Here or hereabouts the truth perhaps lies. I must, however, say that if we look to inherent probabilities for guidance, it is not with Mr. Loch's assumption nor even with the mean, but with the opposite assumption that we seem to find them. For each table we start with the same figures for our basis, viz., with approximately 20 per cent. of those over sixty-five in receipt of relief on 1st January, 1891, as compared with a little over 1 per cent. for those from sixteen to sixty and a little over 2 per cent. for those under sixteen, or a total of not quite 2 per cent. for the whole population. Mr. Loch's assumption brings us to the enormous, and I think improbable rate of 36.7 per cent. for old age pauperism in 1851, which, if anything like the same rule applied as in 1891, would indicate that about half of the old then sought relief sometime during the year. Even the mean figures, showing 33} per cent. in 1851, have to me an exaggerated look.
Mr. Loch's contention in his recent letter to the Times, and also in his article in the ECONOMIC JOURNAL in 1894, is that the progress as to old age pauperism has been satisfactory. To show this he compares the various ratios of improvement. This part of his letter reads as follows:
“A second test or standard of interpretation may be found in comparing past and present. The able-bodied pauperism of England and Wales has decreased, as all admit, with remarkable rapidity. On January 1st, 1871, it was 1:5 per cent and in 1891, 0:6 per cent. on the population between the ages of sixteen and sixty. Of the not-able-bodied paupers, by a comparison of certain returns, it may be concluded that about 19 per cent. are under the age of sixty. Excluding these, therefore, we can compare the not-able-bodied poor who are above the age of sixty with the able-bodied. So far then as the evidence goes we find that the not-able-bodied poor above sixty years of age numbered in 1871 21 per cent. [really 21:5), and in 1891 13 per cent. [really 13-7] of the population of that age. If they had decreased as rapidly as the able-bodied paupers they would have numbered
11 per cent. instead of 13 per cent." I have already pointed out that the relative proportion would be not 11 but 8:6 per cent. on these figures. Mr. Loch, however, goes on thus: “If then we take the decrease in not-able-bodied paupers as a kind of test of what the decrease in the aged might have been expected to be, we find that a difference of 2 per cent. marks the relative failure of the aged poor to become as independent as the able-bodied.” “Thus" (says Mr. Loch),"when a standard of comparison or interpretation is found, statistics acquire reality and meaning; and the meaning is entirely different from that sensational magnitude with which an unguided imagination has been led to endow them." Perhaps the corrected difference of 5 per cent. (13.7—86), may to the casual reader sound hardly more considerable than Mr. Loch's 2 per cent. (13.7—11), but when we remember that 2.7 on 13:7 is really a deficiency of nearly 20 per cent. and that 5 on 13:7 is over 36 per cent. it is possible that the meaning of these statistics may become more real even if somewhat more sensational.
And this view becomes more and more emphasized the further we go. Not only is 11 made to stand for 8:6, not only is 13 loosely used for 137, and 2 for 2:7 in these calculations, while we find the proportion of those over sixty among the not-able-bodied taken as 81 per cent. in place of 81-8; but, as I have shown, the entire basis of Mr. Loch's contention is untenable. He no doubt secures the appearance of an improvement in the present, but it is effected to a great extent by an exaggeration in the past.
If we use the figures given on page 218 to make a comparison on Mr. Loch's plan we obtain the following results, starting from 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1881 respectively,
In these tables the first figures are the actual ratios for pauperism 16–65, and the next are the assumed ratios for pauperism over 65.
That is, the old are in a
worse position since 1851 On assumption A.
than those from 16-651851 to 1891 2.64:1:13:: 36-74: 15.72 in place of 19.96 by ratio 4.24 or 27 per cent. 2:13:1.13: : 30-87:16:38
3:58 2:34:1.13::31:53:15.23 1881
22 31 6
The mean of the two theories gives the following
results : 1851 to 1891 2.91 :1.13 :: 33-32: 12.93 in place of 19.96 1861
2:32:1.13 ::28:55:13.95 1871
7.03 6.01 7.43 2.22
2:58:1.13 :: 28.62:12:53 1881
1:40:1.13 : :21.98:17.74
If this last table may be taken as a reasonable compromise between two extremes, it would appear that in the race for improvement the old have fallen behind to the extent of 50 per cent., that is their present numbers (300,000), are 100,000 in excess of what they would have been had they shared the improvement that has taken place as to pauperism amongst those under sixty-five years of age-not, be it observed, the able-bodied only, but all of the
ages sixteen to sixty-five, whether ill or well. This is what results from going back to 1871 or earlier. I do not know that the figures are very important, but Mr. Loch has appealed to them. In my book, I did not go back at all beyond 1881, and the trend of things from 1881 to 1891 and onwards still appears to me to be the more important question.
What strikes the eye most in the figures given above, is the approximation of the rate of improvement when we compare the old and those in earlier life after 1881, which is carried still further in such figures as can be given for the years since 1891. These last figures are a little uncertain, but I do not suppose they contain any serious error, and they are of considerable interest.
Before I proceed to consider these and the other figures on their merits, I would ask the reader's attention to the following table of population from 1851 to 1898 divided by age periods, as used in the foregoing statements of pauperism :
NOTE- The population of the 597 Unions included in the Poor Law returns for 1851, has been proportunately divided as follows for the tables on page 218 :
These figures are in themselves very noteworthy. We see from 1861 to 1881 a constant and most remarkable change in the proportion of children, which by 1891 is all lost, the proportion actually falling below what it was in 1851. Between 1851 and 1861 the whole population increased 12 per cent., and the children 134 per cent. By 1871 the whole population had further in
creased 13-2 per cent. while the children had increased 14:7 per cent.; by 1881 the whole population had further increased 14 per cent., but the children led again with an increase of 15 per cent. But in 1891, while the total ratio of increase had fallen to 11-7 per cent., that of the children alone had actually fallen to 7-8 per cent. The period from 1861 to 1881, and especially the decade 1871 to 1881, was a time of rapidly advancing prosperity and rising wages. I think this was the time to which Mr. Gladstone's famous phrase “ leaps and bounds” referred. It was a time of marrying and begetting children, and it was also a time of decreasing pauperism. This decrease Mr. Loch would have us attribute entirely to improved administration of the Poor Law. There was, it is true, a great effort made, but had it not been that the tide was in their favour, the results would have been less conspicuous.
The other marked peculiarity in these figures is the curious wave in the numbers of those over sixty-five, who increased 12 per cent. the first decade, then 15.3 per cent. from 1861 to 1871, followed by only 10:6 per cent. from 1871 to 1881, rising again to 155 per cent. from 1881 to 1891. The varying numbers of the old may have had some effect on the ratios of pauperism.
If the reader will now turn back to table C of Pauperism (page 218), he will see that the strongly marked peculiarities of the decade 1871 to 1881 depend in great measure upon the reactionary state of things from 1861 to 1871. If the improvement noticeable from 1851 to 1861 had been continued to 1871, we should have an almost uniform line of improvement from 1851 to 1881. Thus an altogether exceptional state of things lay at the bottom of the extraordinary reduction in pauperism from 1871 to 1881. The comparatively slow rate of improvement since then becomes explicable.
As to the children, the improvement has continued. We have the following series of ratios : 5:50 (1851), 4:26 (1861), 4:51 (1871), 2:71 (1881), 2:18 (1891), and perhaps about 1.93 for 1898. If there had been no reaction from 1861 to 1871, the curve (if laid out) would show continuous and almost regular improvement for the whole period. Since 1891 (if my estimates of population are not seriously out) it is in the children only that there has been any improvement. This improvement, I venture to suggest, is largely due to an increase of private charity. Such institutions as Dr. Barnardo's Homes cannot but have had a great effect in this direction.
As to the active years 16–65, too, the curve of improvement