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

Author

Listed:
  • Jeanne Cilliers

    (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Johan Fourie

    (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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeanne Cilliers & Johan Fourie, 2012. "New estimates of settler life span and other demographic trends in South Africa, 1652–1948," Working Papers 20/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers173
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    File URL: https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2012/wp202012/wp-20-2012.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Johan Fourie & Jan Luiten Zanden, 2013. "GDP in the Dutch Cape Colony: The National Accounts of a Slave-Based Society," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 81(4), pages 467-490, December.
    2. Pim de Zwart, 2011. "Real wages at the Cape of Good Hope: A long-term perspective, 1652-1912," Working Papers 0013, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. An ode to demography
      by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2013-01-21 03:07:23

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jeanne Cilliers & Martine Mariotti, 2019. "The shaping of a settler fertility transition: eighteenth- and nineteenth-century South African demographic history reconsidered," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 421-445.
    2. Jeanne Cilliers & Martine Mariotti, 2019. "Stop! Go! What can we learn about family planning from birth timing in settler South Africa, 1800-1910?," CEH Discussion Papers 05, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    3. Piraino, Patrizio & Muller, Sean & Cilliers, Jeanne & Fourie, Johan, 2013. "The transmission of longevity across generations: The case of the settler Cape Colony," SALDRU Working Papers 113, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    4. Johan Fourie & Dieter Fintel, 2014. "Settler skills and colonial development: the Huguenot wine-makers in eighteenth-century Dutch South Africa," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 67(4), pages 932-963, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    historical demography; economic development; population dynamics; living standards; family life; life span; age distribution; marriage patterns; South Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania

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