What caused the population explosion in Britain in the 19th century?
Population explosion describes an enormous increase in the population numbers/quantities over a small period of the time - What caused the population explosion in Britain in the 19th century? introduction. There are three possible ways the population number can increase. The number of births increase, the number of deaths decrease or immigrants could move to the country. In 1750, the population started with only 7million people. This increased in the year 1800 when the population number increased to 11 million and it increased even more in the year 1850 with 21 million as the population number. This number increased further in the year 1900 when the population number changed to 37 million. These were drastic changes in the number of population in Britain.
One of the causes was the fact that people started to hire midwives in 1750. This meant that pregnant women were better cared for and some hospitals even started to build maternity wards for better care of their pregnant patients. This caused an increase in birth rates and it also decreased the number of deaths as the mothers were more likely to survive and the women felt more comfortable with the idea of giving birth, it was encouraged by the idea of them having midwives to care for them appropriately.
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Also, in the 1750s the citizens drank lots of cheap gin. This caused damaged to their unborn babies and it caused a lot of deaths but in 1751 the tax price was added onto the gin which made the price of gin expensive which meant that lesser amounts of people could afford to drink it. This meant that more babies remained undamaged and lesser amounts of people were in danger of deaths caused by the intake of gin.
In 1796, Edward Jenner discovered how to vaccinate (inject) against small pox. In 1870, vaccination was compulsory and the disease disappeared. This caused a decrease in the number of deaths because there was more chance of saving people who had been diagnosed with it and it also stopped people who didn’t already have it from getting it and suffering or dying because of it.
People believed in young love. This meant that they chose to get married at a younger age and so it lead to them having more time to have more children. This increased the birth rates and when child labour was announced in 1800 because the number of factories had increased, the parents decided to have more children and a larger family so they could have more money. This increased the birth rates because they employed children, which encouraged the parents to have more children.
From 1800, cotton undies began to replace wool for clothing. The cotton material is a lot easier to wash and to dry which meant that people were encouraged to wash their clothes more often. This decreased the number of deaths because there was a lesser chance of infections that couldn’t be treated to be caused, resulting in fewer deaths.
After the 1800s, the price of soap got cheaper so more people decided to buy and use it. The fact that more soap was used meant that there was a lesser germs around resulting in a decreased number of people getting infected and decreased number of deaths since people found it a lot easier to control their hygiene levels.
Also, the medicine improved in the year after 1800. The doctors started to use anaesthetics (painkillers) and antiseptics (remove germs). This made the performing operations a lot safer and risk free. The nurses were better trained by this time and there were more hospitals around. This decreased the number of deaths because there was better care for the sick and m ore chance of them being healthy once again, it also made giving birth more safer for women. Since the antiseptics helped further prevention of infection, there was a lesser chance of death to the patient during operations.
There was further development in the towns and cities after 1860. They became cleaner with better quality houses, streets and parks. Many of the towns were also built with sewers in, this meant that, the more amounts of sewers that were used to help to have a larger quantity of cleaner water and this would result in healthier people. This caused a decrease in deaths since it meant that there was a lesser chance of people dying from dying by dangers that could have be caused by reasons like, intake of un-healthy and un-clean water.
After 1870, better schooling and education techniques were used for more students. This meant that more citizens would have been able to attend the schools and it was made easier for them to learn how to keep hygienic and healthy. This resulted with a decrease in the death numbers as they were now better educated about their personal hygiene and how to protect themselves from infections and germs.
Better farming techniques were also introduced to the farmers by this time. This gave the people the chance to have better diets so they could experience life for a longer period of time. This caused a decrease in death since the people were able to look after themselves and their diets better.
In conclusion, there wasn’t any reason in particular for the cause of the population explosion in Britain; there was a variety of causes. The number of immigrants that moved to the country remained the same throughout the whole period and to sum it up, the two main explanations for the population explosion was that the number of deaths kept on decreasing whilst the number of births kept on increasing.