How, and why, did trends in these two fields vary between states?

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Roxy Freeman


A221 TMA03

What factors influenced population growth and levels of emigration in nineteenth-century Europe? How, and why, did trends in these two fields vary between states?

The nineteenth century was possibly the most progressive time for European development. Industrialisation was on the increase, government bureaucracies were being developed and improved, Europe was seeing a long period of peace among the majority of the countries; and also the shear number of Europeans was increasing quite dramatically, the changes in population sizes were by no means the same throughout Europe but the majority of the countries followed one pattern, which was that they were all increasing, although in varying degrees and at different times this large growth of population had many effects on Europe and all Europeans were affected be it peasants in rural locations or  high class citizens in the cities. The rapid growth had economic, social, and political impact. It helped to break up the agrarian society, to promote movement through immigration, and it changed the family structure in many ways.  Europe at this time was going through a demographic revolution

In the year 1800 Europe had a total estimated population of 187 million, just one century later this number had increased to a massive 401 million. Obviously population growth in broad terms is due to an increase in births and/or a decline in deaths, most likely a combination of the two.  But there are many underlying factors that influenced not only the reduction in deaths but also the increase in births in some European states in the 19th century. However, it would appear when looking at statistics from this period, that although birth rates rose in some states, overall they actually didn’t increase greatly throughout Europe, meaning that death rates must have decreased considerably in order for the population to have grown as it did. (Open university Economy 2003)

There were many factors that affected the decrease in mortalities; perhaps one of the most significant in the second part of the century was the general improvements in living conditions, for example a clean supply of water, adequate sewage systems and improved housing with less overcrowding; these improvements in conjunction with the improvements in nutrition meant that less people were dying from infectious disease such as scarlet fever and typhus. During the nineteenth century more food was available than had been previously in most of Europe and peoples diets improved helping to increase resistance to disease and subsequently lessening the chance of disease spreading. (Anderson 2003)

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Another major factor in reducing deaths was advances in medical knowledge and the availability of suitable drugs and vaccines. Smallpox was a serious threat in previous centuries, and early in the nineteenth century, but was eliminated in Britain and other countries due to vaccines which were made compulsory in many countries between 1806 and 1815. France however failed to introduce compulsory vaccination until in to the twentieth century. (open university Economy 2003)

Malthus, an English economist and demographer, published an in-depth and highly criticised analysis of population and its affects on society in late eighteenth century. He stated that ...

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