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ILLEGITIMACY (from " illegitimate," L...

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Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 304 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ILLEGITIMACY (from " illegitimate," Lat. illegitimus, not in accordance with law, hence born out of lawful wedlock), the state of being of illegitimate birth. The law dealing with Table II. Country. 1846-55. 1856-65. 1866-75. 1876-85. 1886-95. `1896-19o5. England and Wales . 17 18 16 13 lo 8 Scotland . . . . .. 22 23 20 17 13 Ireland . . . .. 5 4 5 3 Denmark . . . .. 28 27 26 24 23 Sweden 20 22 23 22 22 Germany 28 27 26 Netherlands . lo 9 9 6 Belgium . . . . 16 16 17 19 17 17 France . . . 15 17 17 16 17 18 Italy 24 24 19 L This is given for certain countries in the legitimation of children born out of wedlock will be found under LEGITIMACY AND LEGITIMATION. How far the prevalence of illegitimacy in any community can be taken as a guide to the morality of that community is a much disputed question. The phenomenon itself varies so much in different localities, even in localities where the same factors seem to prevail, that affirmative conclusions are for the most part impossible to draw. In the United Kingdom, where the figures differ considerably for the three countries—England, Scotland, Ireland—the reasons that might be assigned for the differences are negatived if applied on the same lines, as they might well be, to certain other countries. Then again, racial, climatic and social differences must be allowed for, and the influence of legislation is to be taken into account. The fact that in some countries marriage is forbidden until a man has completed his military service, in another, that consent of parents is requisite, in another, that " once a bastard always a bastard " is the rule, while in yet another that the merest of subsequent formalities will legitimize the offspring, must account in some degree for variations in figures. Table I. gives the number of illegitimate births per I000 births in various countries of the world for quinquennial periods. It is to be noted that still-born births are excluded, as in the United Kingdom (contrary to the practice prevailing in most European countries) registration of such births is not compulsory. The United States is omitted, as there is no national system of registration of births. This method of measuring illegitimacy by ascertaining the proportion of illegitimate births in every thousand births is a fairly accurate one, but there is another valuable one which is often applied, that of comparing the number of illegitimate births with each thousand unmarried females at the child-bearing age-- the " corrected " rate as opposed to the " crude,"as it is usually termed. The generally accepted idea that the inhabitants of the warmer countries of the south of Europe are more ardent in temperament has at least no support as shown in the figures in Table I., where we find a higher rate of illegitimacy in Sweden and Denmark than in Spain or Italy. Religion, however, must be taken into account as having a strong influence in preventing unchastity, though it cannot be concluded that any particular creed is more powerful in this direction than another; for example, the figures for Austria and Ireland are very different. It cannot be said, either, that figures bear out the statement that where there is a high rate of illegitimacy there is little prostitution. It is more probable that in a country where the standard of living is low, and early marriages are the rule, the illegitimate birth-rate will be low. As regards England and Wales, the illegitimate birth-rate has been steadily declining for many years, not only in actual numbers, but also in proportion to the population. Year. Ille Itimate Proportion Illegitimate g to woo of Births in Births. population. I000 Births. 186o 43,693 2.2 64 1865 46,585 2.2 62 187o 44,737 2'0 56 1875 40,813 I.7 48 188o 42,542 I.6 48 1885 42,793 1.6 48 1890 38,412 1.3 44 1895 38,836 1.3 42 1900 36,814 1.1 40 1905 37,315 1.1 40 1907 36,189 1•o 39 The corrected rate bears out the result shown in Table III as follows: Rate per woo. Compared with rate in 1876-1880, taken as Too. 1876-188o 14.4 loom 1881-1885 13.5 93.8 1886-1890 11.8 81.9 1891-1895 Io•I 70.1 1896-1900 9.2 63.9 1901-1905 8'4 58.3 1906 8•T 56.3 1907 7.8 54.2 Table V. gives the illegitimate births to T000 births in England and Wales for the ten years sSo7-zoo() and for 1876-1880. 1881-1885.1886-1890. 1891-1895.1896-1900.1901-1905. England and Wales 48 48 46 42 41 40 Scotland . . 85 83 81 74 68 64 Ireland . . 24 27 28 36 36 26 Denmark . Io1 loo 95 94 96 I0I Norway . . . . 84 81 75 71 74 Sweden too 102 103 105 113 Finland 73 70 65 65 66 Russia . . 28 27 27 27 27 Austria 138 145 147 146 141 Hungary . 73 79 82 85 90 94 Switzerland 47 48 47 46 45 Germany. 87 92 92 91 90 84 Netherlands . . 31 30 32 31 27 23 Belgium 74 82 87 88 8o 68 France 72 78 83 87 , 88 88 Portugal . .. .. 123 122 121 Spain . . .. ... 49 44 Italy . . 72 76 74 69 62 56 New South Wales 42 44 49 6o 69 70 Victoria . . 43 46 49 6o 69 70 Queensland 39 41 44 48 59 65 South Australia . .. 22 25 30 38 41 West Australia . .. .. 48 51 42 Tasmania .. 44 38 46 57 New Zealand 23 29 32 38 44 45 Ten Ten Ten Ten years years years years 1897- 1907. 1897- 1907. 1897- 1907. 1897- 1907. 1906. 1906. 1966. 1906. Bedford . . 49 53 Hertford . . 40 42 Oxford . . 53 56 N. Riding . 53 45 Berks . . . 47 48 Huntingdon . 49 46 Rutland . . 46 70 W. ,, 43 41 Bucks . . 40 44 Kent . . 40 41 Shropshire 64 61 Cambridge 48 53 Lancashire 38 37 Somerset . . 37 35 Anglesey 81 75 Chester . . 41 39 Leicester- Stafford . . 4o 38 Brecon . . 44 40 Cornwall 50 48 shire 40 39 Suffolk . . 56 62 Cardigan . . 64 61 Derby Cumberland . . 4 4shire 55 54 Sussex . . 38 37 Carnarvon Carmarthen . 37 72 . . 37 38 52 52 London Devon . . 319 39 9 Middlesex Warwick . . Denbigh . . 49 47 Dorset . . 40 37 Monmouth 29 27 Westmor- Flint . . . 42 42 Durham . . 34 37 Norfolk . . 62 65 land . . 61 62 Glamorgan 26 26 Essex . . . 28 27 Northampton 41 42 Wilts . . . 41 42 Merioneth . 71 77 Gloucester 36 36 Northumber- Worcester 37 38 Montgomery . 76 73 Hants . . 40 36 land . 39 38 Yorks- Pembroke 52 47 Hereford . . 66 66 Nottingham . 5o 49 E. Riding . 52 49 Radnor . . l 66 67 Illegitimate Births to woo Unmarried and Widowed Females, Decrease per cent Reggistration aged 15-45 years. in each County Counties. Three-year Periods. Years. between period 1870-1872. 1880-1882. 1890-1892. 1900-1902. 1903-1905. 1906. 1907. and 1907. England and Wales 17•o 14.1 10.5 8.5 8.3 8.1 7.8 54'1 London . 10.3 9-8 8.1 6.9 6.9 6.8 6.4 37.9 Bedford . 21.1 18•o 11.2 8.4 8•o 8.2 8.7 58'8 Berks 16.8 13.4 10.3 8-7 8.6 8.1 8.4 50.0 Bucks 19.0 16.5 12.6 9'1 8.9 7'3 8.8 53'7 Cambridge 19.3 15.6 12.4 9.6 Io•I 9.7 10.4 46.1 Chester . 17.5 14.2 10.3 7'7 7.3 7.2 6.9 60.6 Cornwall 16.5 14.8 11.2 8.6 8.1 7'5 7.5 54.5 Cumberland . 29.2 23.9 18.6 12.3 12.3 12.3 11.0 62.3 Derby 22.5 17.7 12.8 10•0 10.0 10.0 9.4 58'2 Devon 14•0 10.6 8.1 6.7 6.5 6.7 6.1 56.4 Dorset 14.2 13.1 9.6 7.2 7.2 8.1 6.4 54'9 Durham . 24.0 18•o 13.8 11.1 11.1 16.8 I1.6 51.7 Essex 16.2 12.7 9•I 7.3 7.1 6.7 6.4 60.5 Gloucester 12.9 11.6 8.2 6.3 6.1 6.8 5.8 55'0 Hants 13.6 11.8 8.5 7.3 7.1 6.9 6.4 52.9 Hereford 21.4 19.0 13.4 11.2 11.5 10.3 11.0 48.6 Hertford 18.4 15'3 10.4 7.0 7'2 6.6 7.5 59'2 Huntingdon 19.8 14.0 12.9 10.9 9'7 9'7 9.7 51.0 Kent 14.7 12.1 9.3 7'5 7'6 7.5 7.2 51.0 Lancashire 16.2 13.6 10.2 7'9 7'8 7'5 7'2 55'6 Leicestershire 19.9 16.1 11.4 8.6 7'9 7.5 7.3 63'3 Lincolnshire . 22.3 18.5 14.2 12.2 12.1 12.7 11.9 46.6 Middlesex 9.4 9.4 6.5 5'9 6•o 6.1 5.7 39.4 Monmouth 18.6 15'9 11.3 10'2 9'1 9.6 9'3 50.0 Norfolk . 27.3 22.6 16.7 13.4 13.4 12.5 12.8 53.1 Northampton 18.7 15.9 11.7 9.1 8.8 9.0 7.7 58.8 Northumberland 21.1 17.9 12.4 10.2 ' 10.0 10.4 9'3 55'9 Nottingham . 24.5 21'7 15'4 12.7 12.6 12.0 11.9 51'4 Oxford . 19.0 15.4 10.4 9'0 9'1 9'3 9'2 51'6 Rutland . 18.1 12.7 7'9 7.2 6.8 9'0 11'4 37'0 Salop 28.2 21.8 16.6 12.8 13.4 13.0 11.8 58.2 Somerset 13.3 11.3 7.4 6•o 6•o 5'4 5.5 58'6 Stafford . 24.6 19.4 14.5 11.2 11.4 10.9 10.1 58'9 Suffolk . 22.0 17.8 14.0 12.0 11.7 12.4 12'5 43'2 Surrey 9'5 8.5 6.6 5'9 5'7 5'9 5.7 40.0 Sussex 13.7 11.5 8.7 7.2 7.0 6.5 6.4 53'3 Warwick . 14.9 13.2 9'7 7.6 7'5 6.6 6.8 54'4 Westmorland 21.9 17.9 13•I 8.6 9.1 8.5 7.8 64.4 Wilts 17•I 14.7 10.3 9.2 8.7 8.6 9.3 45.6 Worcester 16.3 13.7 9.2 7.2 6.8 6.6 6.6 59'5 Yorks- 23.0 18.2 14.3 12.2 I1.7 12.2 10.6 53.9 E. Riding N. Riding 27.7 20.2 15.4 12.1 11.6 11.9 10.2 63.2 W. Riding 20.4 16.1 11.4 9`4 9.2 8.8 8.1 60.3 Anglesey 19.7 16.7 15.7 16.1 14.9 13'3 12'9 34'5 Brecon 19.9 18•o 12•5 16•I 9.2 9.2 8'3 58'3 Cardigan 16•o 14.8 II.8 8.9 7'8 6'3 7.3 54'4 Carmarthen 18.2 13.9 9'4 7.7 8'2 7'7 8'9 51'1 Carnarvon 18.3 13'9 12'7 10'3 9'6 9'4 10'5 42'6 Denbigh . . . . 21.1 17-6 13.4 12.3 11.6 13''5 10'3 51'2 Flint 18.7 18.4 13•1 9.7 11.2 11•.9 11.0 41.2 Glamorgan 17'7 13.5 10'3 8.5 9.1 8.9 8'4 52.5 Merioneth 24.4 19.5 16.4 13.5 13.4 13.2 12.7 48'0 Montgomery 29'5 24'3 16.7 13.1 13.4 12.6 I1.7 60.3 Pembroke 21.6 15'9 12.4 8.9 10.2 10.7 8.4 61•1 Radnor . . . . 41'8 33.2 20 1 14.4 13 4 8.3 11.3 73.0 Belfast. . 31 Liverpool . . 54 Birmingham 35 Manchester . . 28 Bradford . 40 Middlesboro' . . 25 Bristol . . 31 Newcastle . . . 36 Cork . 18 Nottingham . . 60 Dublin. 28 Portsmouth • 33 Edinburgh 69 Salford . . . 28 Glasgow . 63 Sunderland . 30 Leeds . 54 Total Births per Percentage of Births. Legitimate. Illegitimate. moo of o Illegitimate to p p• Total Births. 132,005 122,699 9306 27.93 7.05 Percentage Percentage Illegitimate of Illegitimate of Births. Illegitimate Births. Illegitimate to Total to Total Births. Births. 1860 9,736 9.22 1895 9204 7.28 1865 11,262 9.96 1900 8534 6.49 1870 11,108 9.63 1901 8359 6.32 1875 10,786 8.73 1902 8300 6.28 1880 10,589 8.5o 1903 8295 6.21 1885 io,68o 8.47 1904 9010 6.79 1890 9,241 7.60 1905 9082 6.91 1906 9306 7.05 Illegitimate Illegitimate Births Births. per I000 of Un- married Women and Widows between 15 and 45. No. Per moo of pop. Districts: 4318 7.14 Principal Town . Large Town . 1029 5.58 Small Town . . . 1724 6.23 Mainland-rural 2099 9.08 Insular-rural . . . 136 5.88 Shetland . . 31 5.30 7.0 Orkney 29 5'99 7.7 Caithness . . 84 9.96 19'4 Sutherland . . 28 6.81 10.1 Ross and Cromarty 74 4'40 6.9 Inverness 145 8.02 1I.5 Nairn 18 10.29 13.2 Elgin (or Moray) 169 15.66 26.3 Banff 202 12.93 25.4 Aberdeen . . Io83 12.38 24.2 Kincardine 93 8.15 17.0 Forfar 676 9.43 14.2 Perth 215 7.93 10.8 Fife 308 4.56 9.7 Kinross 20 9.95 22'2 Clackmannan . 53 6.69 10.9 Stirling 235 4.91 13.2 Dumbarton . . 163 4.14 9.7 Argyll 148 10.07 12.7 Bute 30 8.36 9.2 Renfrew . 410 4.46 8.5 Ayr 499 6.23 14'3 Lanark 2872 6.28 15.9 Linlithgow . . 99 3.88 15.4 Edinburgh . . 930 7.23 11.0 Haddington. 66 5.92 11.8 Berwick 6o 9.63 12.7 Peebles 21 6.18 7.9 Selkirk 46 9.13 11'5 Roxburgh . . 83 8.67 9.8 Dumfries 218 12.51 19.9 Kirkcudbright . 92 10.71 15.7 \\'igtoun. . 106 12.79 22.5 Scotland . 9306 7.05 14.1 the year 1907. Table VI. gives the " corrected " rate for certain three-year periods. In connexion with these tables the following extract from the Registrar-General's Report for 1907 (p. M.) is important. " It is difficult to explain the variations in the rates of illegitimacy in the several counties. It may be stated generally that the proportion of illegitimate children cannot alone serve as a standard of morality. Broadly speaking, however, the single and widowed women in London, in the counties south of the Thames, and in the south-western counties have comparatively few illegitimate children; on the other hand, the number of illegitimate children is comparatively high in Shropshire, in Herefordshire, in Staffordshire, in Nottinghamshire, in Cumberland, in North Wales, and also in 1903. 1904. 1905. 1906. 1907. Ireland . . 2.6 2.5 2.6 2.6 2.5 Leinster . 2.6 2.6 2.7 2.7 2.7 Munster . 2.3 2.2 2.3 2.2 2•I Ulster 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.5 3.3 Connaught . 0.5 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.6 nearly all the counties on the eastern seaboard, viz. Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, the East and North Ridings of Yorkshire, and Durham. In the Registrar-General's Report for the year 1851 it was assumed that there was an indirect connexion between female illiteracy and illegitimacy. This may have been the case in the middle of the last century, but there is no conclusive evidence that such is the case at the present day. The proportions of illegitimacy and the proportions of married women who signed the marriage register ounty. No. of cent of County. Illegitimate Total Births. Births. Leinster- 27 3.56 Carlow Dublin 34 1.15 Dublin Co. Borough 314 3.29 Kildare 22 1.46 Kilkenny 54 3.29 King's 24 2.07 Longford 11 1.23 Louth 27 2.01 Meath 30 2.27 Queen's 18 1.70 Westmeath 19 1.57 Wexford 89 4'11 Wicklow 37 2.91 Munster- 23 1.04 Clare Cork Co. and Co. Borough 151 1.69 Kerry 51 1.34 Limerick Co. and Co. Borough 107 3.14 Tipperary N.R 19 1'49 Tipperary S.R 66 3.32 Waterford Co. and Co. Borough 68 3.69 Ulster-- 230 5.08 Antrim Armagh 99 3'49 Belfast Co. Borough . 355 3.13 Cavan 27 1.54 Donegal 54 1.36 Fermanagh 41 3.15 Londonderry Co. and Borough 145 4.35 Monaghan 24 1.55 Tyrone 116 3.80 Connaught- -. - 32 .80 Galway Leitrim to '77 Mayo 21 '45 Roscommon 9 .50 Sligo 9 .52 Leinster 716 2.67 Munster 495 2.11 Ulster 1272 3.32 Connaught 8i •6o 2564 by mark are relatively high in Staffordshire, in North Wales, in Durham and in the North Riding of Yorkshire; on the other hand, in Norfolk, in Suffolk and in Lincolnshire there is a comparatively high proportion of illegitimacy and a low proportion of illiteracy." This latter conclusion may be carried further by saying that in those European countries where elementary education is most common, the rate of illegitimacy is high, and that it is low in the more illiterate parts, e.g. Ireland and Brittany. It has been said that one of the contributory causes of illegitimacy is the contamination of great cities; statistics, however, disprove this, there being more illegitimacy in the rural districts. Table VII. gives the rate of illegitimacy in some of the principal towns of the United Kingdom. That poverty is a determining factor in causing illegitimacy the following figures, giving the rate of illegitimacy in the poorest parts of London and in certain well-to-do parts, clearly disprove: Rate of Illegitimacy per loon Births. London. 1901. 1903. 1905. 1907. Stepney 12 9 18 10 Bethnal Green . . . 13 15 13 i1 Mile End Old Town . . 15 13 16 15 Whitechapel . . . . 22 24 19 19 St George's, Hanover Sq.. 40 45 45 45 Kensington . . . 48 44 49 54 Fulham 43 42 45 40 Marylebone . . 182 186 198 182 Tables VIII. and IX. give the rate of illegitimacy for the various counties of Scotland, and Table X. the rate for Ireland. B1n1,1oGRAawn—The Annual Reports of the Registrars-General for England, Scotland and Ireland; statistical returns of foreign countries; A. Leffingweil, Illegitimacy and the Influence of the Seasons upon Conduct (1892). (T. A. I.)
End of Article: ILLEGITIMACY (from " illegitimate," Lat. illegitimus, not in accordance with law, hence born out of lawful wedlock)
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