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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1 March 2021
Even with the release of data showing a record high unemployment rate in 2020Q4, it turned out to be a fairly good week for the SA economy. Daily new COVID-19 infections remained well contained, while the second batch of 80 000 J&J vaccines arrived (albeit controversially with the grounded SAA being the carrier). In addition, relative to the October...

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