professional historians australia (south australia)
Home > On this day > May > 7 May 1877 Infant Mortality

7 May 1877 Infant Mortality

 7 May 1877   Infant Mortality

The Register of 7 May 1877 reported that 'infant mortality was alarmingly high' in Adelaide. The number of deaths of infants under one year was 1228 which was more than one-third of the total of 3550 deaths for the year. The next highest mortality was children between the ages of one and two years, and the next highest, rather strangely, was persons between 35 and 40 years. High on the list of killer diseases was scarlatina which was followed by diarrhoea, phthisis (pulmonary consumption), convulsions, and bronchitis. The death rate of 26.8 per 1000 population in Adelaide was high by comparison with comparable English towns.

Poor housing and conditions in parts of the city were blamed for this sad state. The Register wrote of the 'vile stenches which pervade our streets, the utter want of drainage ... foul slaughterhouses and ruinous overcrowded habitations reeking with pestilence which are to be found in Adelaide'. It was feared that until these conditions were improved the city would continue to be an unhealthy place to live.

The South Australian Register, 7 May 1877, p. 4.

Tags: infant mortality