New estimates of settler life span and other demographic trends in South Africa, 1652–1948

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP20/2012
 
Publication date: 2012
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
 
Abstract:

To date very little has been known about the demography of European settlers in South Africa, since descriptions have only been based on Ross’s 1975 calculations of a small sample of 300 observations in the Cape Colony. In this paper we provide a broader and deeper account, using a dataset drawn from the Genealogical Institute of South Africa (2008) that includes information on 401,602 observations of settlers in South Africa and spans the period 1652 to 1948. We estimate useful descriptive statistics on key demographic indicators: population dynamics, age distribution, longevity, marriage patterns, and dependency burdens. These shed new light on the development and demographic transition of the South African settler population and enable international comparisons.

 
JEL Classification:

N37

Keywords:

historical demography, economic development, population dynamics, living standards, family life, life span, age distribution, marriage patterns, South Africa

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13 September 2021
It was a data-heavy week in SA, with the 2021Q2 real GDP data indicating that the economy had better-than-expected recovery momentum in the first half of the year. While growth remained solid in the second quarter, both the survey and actual data released last week revealed the significant impact that the range of shocks at the start of the third quarter...

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