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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Science and Nature

Human Life

From lecture in Cincinnati by Joseph Rhodes Buchanan (1814-1899), American physician and professor.

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -

Human LifeHUMAN LIFE. – It is a common impression that the average duration of human life is lessening, though a moment’s thought of the improved hygiene of the present day, and the increased comfort of the masses, would lead to a different conclusion. The facts support this favorable view. Prof. Buchanan, in a recent lecture in Cincinnati, gave the following figures. His data we have not seen, but we can imagine none that would furnish more than an approximation. In the latter part of the 16th century one half of all who were born died under 5 years of age; the average longevity of the whole population was but 18 years. In the 17th century one half of the population died under 12 years. But in the 60 years of the 18th century one half of the population lived over 27 years. In the latter 40 years one half exceeded 32 years. At the beginning of the present century one half exceeded 40 years, and from 1838 to 1845 one half exceeded 43. The average longevity at these successive periods has been increased from 18 years in the 16th century up to 47.7 by the last reports.

American (Mortality Rates) Life expectancy from 16th Century, Data According to Lecture in Cincinnati by Professor Joseph Buchanan (age at which half born will reach). Data in above 19th century newspaper article reproduced in Table format for easier reading.
Dates Longevity Life Expectancy (Years)
16th century One half of all children born died by 5 years of age  
16th century Half the population who lived past the age of 5 years lived over the age of 18 18
17th century One half of the population died under 12 years. 12
1700-1760 Half the population lived over 27 years 27
1760-1800 Half the population lived over 32 years 32
1800-1838 Half the population lived over 40 years 40
1838-1845 Half the population lived over 43 years 43
1845-1900 Half the population lived past 47.7 years 47.7


Related Link: - Victorian Health Trends