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