Population Profile

The change in the population profile during the thirty years of urban expansion is shown in Figure 1.  The broad base of 1881 not only reflects the increase in population but indicates a community with a large proportion of children up to 14 years age; this age-group having more males (2921) than females (2786) and in contrast to the rest of population.  In both decennial periods analysis show more females than men in the population profile: 1851 – males 49.6 per cent, females 50.4 per cent; 1881 – males 47.3 per cent, females 52.7 per cent.  

As the town grew there was a progressive increase in local birth-rate, with about half the incomers in the child-bearing age-group 18-45.  Figure 2 provides an analysis of the children nine-years-and-under born in the decennial period 1871-81: local births in 1871 were 203 (64 per cent) and elsewhere 114 (36 per cent) but this changed significantly by 1880 with 438 local births (87 per cent) and only 67 (13 per cent) born elsewhere.  This could be seen as the beginning of the trend where natural growth rather than in-migration would supplement labour needs.(4)

Figure 1


Figure 2




There were 1191 households in 1851 and 3184 by 1881; this increase of 167 per cent measured against a population growth of 159 per cent.  The mean average household size falling from 4.97 to 4.8 over the thirty years; as an urban centre in Roxburghshire this correlates with the suggested figure of 4.5 for the county average determined by a Sample Study of the 1881 Census.(5)   

It seems evident from Table 3 that the emerging industrial burgh was a society centred on the nuclear family as 42.5 per cent households in 1881 were married couples with children. The data shows that in multiple households (having more than the immediate family in residence) the co-residential group had also changed over the thirty years.  Notably, Table 3 indicates there were fewer live-in servants in 1881 and in Table 4 under one per cent of the population were in domestic work compared with 2.6 per cent in 1851.  There was also a tendency in 1881 for more kin to be part of the co-residential group and Table 4 shows this was due to an increase in the number of ‘in-laws’ rather than blood relatives.   It may be argued this indicates a strengthening of kinship ties through closer links with the extended family; on the other hand it could be argued this phenomena was in some measure influenced by a shortage of dwelling houses due to the population expanding at such a rate.


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