[From Manx Quarterly #6, 1909]


1907. Decreases in Marriage and Birth Rates. — A Falling Death Rate.

Mr Herbert Story, the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Vaccinations in the Isle of Man, has made his thirty-first annual report — that for 1907 — to the Lieut.-Governor, and the report has been printed and circulated in blue-book form. As usual, the report is well compiled, and is full of information and figures of interest, not only to students of sociology, but to the general public. Mr Story premises, for the purposes of his report, that all rates given, whether for the Island or for the individual parishes and towns, have, except otherwise mentioned, been calculated upon the basis of the population as estimated at the census in April, 1901. The population of the Island, according to the census of 1901, is, by the way, 54,752. Practically the population has been stationary in number since 1871, but the increase in 1901 as compared with 1821 was 14,671. The Island is divided into registration districts as follows: —

The town of Peel and parish of German.
The parish of Patrick, including Foxdale.
The parish of Michael. The parish of Ballaugh.
The town of Ramsey and parish of Maughold.
The parish of Lezayre.
The parishes of Andreas, Bride, and Jurby.
The borough of Douglas and parish of Conchan.
The parish of Lonan.
The parishes of Braddan and Marown. The town of Castletown
The parishes of Malew and Santon. The parishes of Arbory and Rushen.


The general summary of the report is in the following terms: — "The marriages registered in 1907 numbered 337; the births, 1,073; and the deaths, 893. The marriage rate per thousand of the population was 6.1; the birth rate, 19.5; and the death rate, 16.3. The excess of births over deaths was 180, or 3.2 per thousand of the population. These rates in the immediately preceding year (1906) were: Marriage, 6.4; birth, 20.5; death, 16.3; and excess of births over deaths, 4.1 per thousand of the population.


The number of marriages registered in 1907 was 337, being 14 below the number registered in 1906, and corresponded to a rate of 6.1 marriages, or 12.2 persons married, to a thousand living in 1907. During the period, 1879-1888, the rate, based upon the census of 1881, was at its maximum in 1884, in which year the rate was 15 per thousand, and at its minimum in 1888, when the rate was 12.3. In 1889 the rate rose to 14.5, but fell in 1890 to 13.5, and in 1891 to 12.4; rising again in 1892 to 12.6, and in 1893 to 15.1, this being the maximum rate for the period 1879-1897; but it rose to 15.2 in 1898, and to 15.4 in 1899, falling again to 11.2 in 1903, being the lowest yet recorded.

The marriages registered in 1907 in the respective divisions of the Island were: — Western (comprising the town of Peel, and the parishes of German, Patrick, Michael, and Ballaugh), 29, or 11 below those registered in 1906; Northern (comprising the town of Ramsey, and the parishes of Maughold, Lezayre, Andreas, Bride. and Jurby), 35, or 11 below those registered in 1906; Eastern (comprising the Borough of Douglas, and the parishes of Onchan, Lonan, Braddan, and Marown), 227, or 17 more than the number registered in 1906; and Southern (comprising the town of Castletown, and the parishes of Malew, Santon, Arbory, and Rushen), 46, or 19 below the number registered in 1906.

As to the towns, the marriages registered in 1907 in Peel, Ramsey, and Castletown were respectively 15, 9, and 3, against 18, 7, and 5 in 1906. In Douglas, 102 marriages, or 7 less than in 1906, were registered in 1907. The marriages registered in 1907 for the parish of Braddan and borough of Douglas numbered 187, as against 182 in 1906, rather more than one-half of the total marriages registered in either year.

The marriages of bachelors and spinsters (289) in 1907 constituted 85.7 per cent. of the total; of bachelors and widows, 11, or 3.2 per cent.; of widowers and spinsters, 29, or 8.6 per cent. ; and of widowers and widows, 8, or 2.3 per cent.

Of the persons who married in 1907, 34 were under the age of 21 years, 7 of these being men and 27 women.

The men who in 1907 signed the marriage register with marks instead of writing their names were 7, or 2 per cent. ; and 2 women, or 0.5 per cent.

Of the 337 marriages which took place in 1907, there were 277 celebratd according to the rites of the Established Church, 6 were celebrated in Roman Catholic churches; 38 in churches of other Christian denominations; and 16 in register offices. Evidently the Established Church is still a long way in favour with couples committing matrimony. At the end of 1907, the number of buildings in which marriages could be solemnised by rites other than those of the Established Church was 25. No new buildings were registered for the purpose during the year.


Whether the adults of this Isle have been laying to heart and giving effect to the teachings of the late Mr Malthus, or whether natural causes have been in operation, it is certain that the birth rate in the Island is showing a rather alarming tendency to decrease. The maximum rate so far as the period 1884-1907 is concerned, was reached in 1889, when it was 29.5, whereas last year it was but 19.5 — verily a big drop. The yearly average for the five years 1879-1883 was 27.5; for 1884-1888, the average was 28.1; for 1889-1893 it was 26.4; for 1894-1898 it was 25.6; and for 1899-1903 it was 23.5. The average birth rate for 1904-1907 (four years) was 80.8. This experience is similar to that of England, where there is evidently an increasing disinclination to assume the responsibilities of paternity and maternity.

The births registered in 1907 numbered 1,073, and were 50 below the number registered in 1906. The birth rate for 1907 was 19.5 per thousand — the lowest on record — being a decrease of 1.0 as compared with 1906.

In the various divisions of the Island the births registered in 1907 were: — Western, 123, or 4 more than in 1906; Northern, 158, or 20 less than in 1906; Eastern, 641, or 41 below 1906; and Southern, 151, or 7 more than in 1906. The birth rates of the several divisions were: — Western, 15.1; Northern, 17.1; Eastern, 22.2; and Southern' 17.5. These rates in 1906 were: — Western, 14.7; Northern, 17.1; Eastern, 23.6; and Southern, 16.7. What can be the explanation of the fecundity of ladies resident in the Eastern district?

571 males and 502 females were born in the Island during 1907.


The illegitimate births in 1907 numbered 73, or 3 less than in the previous year. These illegitimate births constituted 6.8 per cent. of the total number

of births during the year. Of the 73, there were 7 in the Western division, 15 in the Northern, 43 in the Eastern, and 8 in the Southern. In the Western division the illegitimate: births were 5.7 per cent. of the whole; and the percentages in the other divisions were Northern, 9.5; Eastern, 6.7; Southern, 5.3. The percentages of illegitimate births in the various towns and parishes were as follows: — Peel, 4 ; Ramsey, 8.97; Douglas, 5.27; Castletown, 5.88; German, 3.8; Patrick, 7.7. ; Michael, 9.0; Ballau h, 10; Maughold, 6.6; Lezayre, 5.5; Andreas, 11.0; Bride, 18.7; Jurby, 7.7; Onchan, 7.9; Lonan, 10.3; Braddan, 17.4; Marown, 0 ; Malew, 7.9; Santon, 0 ; Arbory, 8.3; Rushen, 3.44.

In regard to the Braddan percentage as given above, it must be borne in mind that the illegitimate births which take place in the Home for the Poor are registered as in Braddan. The great bulk of the unmarried women who give birth to children in this institution come from districts outside the parish of Braddan, and are but temporary sojourners during the period of their confinement. The seven Northern parishes, again have the unenviable distinction of supplying the highest percentages of illegitimacy, Bride being facile princeps.


The deaths registered during the year 1907 numbered 893, being 1 less than in the preceding year. The death rate of the Island for 1907 was 16.3, the same as is 2.6 per 1,000 below the last quinquennial period.

The highest death rate recorded since 1878 was that of 21.9 in 1880; and the previous lowest rate was in 1903, 17.3.

The death rates in 1907 for the several divisions of the Island were: — Western, 16.0 per 1,000; Northern, 17.0; Eastern, 17.5; and Southern, 14.8: against 15.2, 17.1, 17.4, and 12.7 recorded in the several divisions in the preceding year, 1906.

The death rate in 1907 of the several towns of the Island was: — Peel, 15.7; Ramsey, 15.4; Douglas, 19.2; and Castletown, 13.2, to 1,000 of the population of those respective towns. The rate of the preceding year, 1906, was: — Peel, 17.2; Ramsey, 18.3; Douglas, 18.5; and Castle town, 12.7. The rate, therefore, in 1907 increased in Douglas and Castletown, but decreased in both Peel and Ramsey.

The 893 deaths registered in 1907 included 457 males and 436 females; the deaths of females being 21 less than those of males. In the immediately preceding year, 1906, the female deaths were 20 more than the male deaths. The death rate of males in 1907 was 17.9, and that of females 15.0 per thousand.

The apparent death rate in 1907 of the parish of Braddan was 24.8, as against 33.1 in 1906, but after deducting from the total number of deaths (42) registered in that parish of persons belonging elsewhere who died at the Lunatic Asylum (2), at the Home for the Poor (18), and at the White Hoe Isolation Hospital (3), the true death rate of the parish was 5.5 per thousand, as against 10.1 in 1906.

The following are the death rates for the various towns and parishes in 1907: —












































The birth and death rate of Douglas, calculated on the census population of 1901, is 24.6 and 19.2 respectively, while the rates of Onchan axe 9.6 and 8.3. The population of the extended borough of Douglas is stated to be 21,285, and on this basis the birth rate is 22.2, and the death rate 17.3. The population of Onchan, outside the borough of Douglas, appears to be 1,842, and on this basis the birth and death rates are 20.6 and 17.9 respectively.


The deaths in 1907 of children between five and thirteen years of age were 34, as against 40 in 1906. In 1907 the deaths under one year numbered 107. This mortality was in 1903, 144; 1904, 154; 1905, 139; 1906; 111. The total deaths under five years in 1904 were 219; in 1905, 223; in 1906, 178; and in 1907, 150. May this gratifying decrease prove continuous!


The registered deaths in 1907 of persons aged 65 and upwards were 357; of these, 167 were male and 190 female deaths. These deaths were 39 in excess of the number registered in the preceding year, 1906.

Of persons attaining the age of 85 and upwards, 37 deaths (13 males and 24 females) were registered in 1907. These deaths were 4 above the number registered in the preceding year, 1906. There was also registered in 1907 the death of one male whose age was unknown, but was over 95.


With reference to the causes of death during the year, it is satisfactory to find that, with the exception of one in 1903, no death has been due to smallpox in the Isle of Man since 1879. There has, too, been a remarkable immunity from typhus fever fatality, as, with the exception of 1891, no death in the Island was attributable to this form of disease during the period 1879-1907. No deaths in 1907 were ascribable to measles; one was due to scarlet fever, as against three in 1906; twelve were set down to influenza — five more than in 1906; whooping cough caused seven deaths, being eight fewer than in 1906; diphtheria was responsible for ten deaths, as against 15 in 1906, 36 in 1905, two in 1904, six in 1903, and 11 in 1.902; under the heading of enteric fever there were three deaths in 1907, or one more than in 1906; diarrhoea carried off six persons, or one fewer than in 1906; and to erysipelas one death was attributed in 1807.

To tuberculous diseases, in the aggregate, 128 deaths were due in 1907 (69 males and 65 females). Deaths from these diseases amounted to 14.3 per cent. of the deaths from all causes, and were in the proportion of 2.3 to 1,000 living. From tuberculous phthisis (consumption) alone there were, in 1907, 59 deaths (24 males and 35 females); while phthisis (not otherwise defined) was certified in 36 cases (25 males and 11 females). The combined total of deaths from pulmonary tuberculosis (tubercglous phthisis) and phthisis (95) was more than that of 1906 by 15, and than that of 1905 by 3; but less than that of 1904 by 2. Deaths from all varieties of tuberculous disease, however, show a tendency to decrease. The figures since 1902 have been as follows: — 1902, 151; 1903, 131; 1904, 158; 1905, 134; 1906, 120; 1907, 128. In 1907 there were 62 deaths due to bronchitis, or 25 above the number registered in 1906.

In 1907 no deaths were attributed to starvation, scurvy, opium, morphia habit, poisoning by ptomaines and other food toxins, or to industrial poisoning; but four deaths were attributed to alcoholism.

The deaths ascribed in 1907 to some one or other form of accident or violence numbered 13, or 17 below the number registered in 1906. Of these deaths, one was registered under the heading of " Weapons and implements," two under "Burns and scalds," none under "Poisons," three under "Drowning," six under "Falls," and one under the heading "Otherwise or not stated."

There was no suicide, no homicide, and no death from execution in 1907. During the year, 21 certificates of death were received by the registrars from the respective coroners of inquests, or 14 fewer than in 1906.

Cancer and malignant disease (not othewise specified) was registered as the cause of 26 deaths in 1907, as against 32 in 1906. — The total number of deaths from this group of malignant diseases was 59 (25 males and 34 females), as compared with 65 in 1906, 72 in 1905, 58 in 1904, 62 in 1903, and 60 in 1902. Deaths from these diseases amounted to 6.6 per cent. of the deaths from all causes, and were in the proportion of. 1.0 to a thousand persons living.

In 1907 there were 90 deaths in public institutions, or 11 more than in 1906. Seven occurred in the Ramsey Cottage Hospital, three in the Cronk Ruagh (Isolation) Hospital, 32 in Noble's Hospital, five in the House of Industry, one in the Industrial Home, 18 in the Home for the Poor, 21 in the Lunatic Asylum, and three in the White Hoe (Isolation) Hospital.


The vaccinations, as returned by the various registrars as having been successfully performed in 1907, reach the total of 942. The average percentage of vaccinations to births is 97.5; and Mr Story remarks that the returns show good work during the year in the generally badly vaccinated districts of Patrick and Foxdale, Andreas, Bride and Jurby, and Arbory and Rushen. The return from Ballaugh (60 per cent.) is unsatisfactory, while Braddan and Marown (44.6 per cent.) easily maintain their reputation as the worst vaccinated districts in the Island.


Included in the report is the following summary by Mr. A. W. Moore, c.v.o., F.R.M.s., of his observations in regard to the weather of 1907: —

1907 has been a wet and rather cold year, with considerably less sunshine than usual. The summer was the coldest ever recorded at Cronkbourne,, and very wet, although exceeded by nine summers since 1869. A very fine aurora was observed on February 9th.

January was fine and dry, and warm till the 23rd; February, fine and cold, with a record sunshine for this month; March, wet, mild, and sunny; April, cold and sunless; May, dull and cold; June, very wet and cold — the coldest June on record, and the wettest since 1872; July, cold, dry, and sunny, maximum shade temperature recorded above 70.00 six days in succession; August, cold and wet — the coldest since 1881, which was the coldest on record; September, very fine and dry — maximuim shade temperature on 20th being 71.06; October, very wet and mild; November, rather cold; December, dull, wet, and cold.

The average barometrical pressure was 29.901 in.; the highest, 30.982 in., on the 23rd January, and the lowest 28.733 in., on the 13th December.

The average shade temperature at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. was 47.063, being 0.042 below the mean; the average of the maximum and minimum was 47.065 at Cronkbourne, and 48.079 at Ramsey. The highest temperature was recorded on the 17th July, being 78.060 at Ramsey, and 78.00 at Cronkbourne. The lowest temperature was recorded on 24th January, being 21.00 at Cronkbourne, and 22.010 at Ramsey.


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