Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Population--Variations in Density

This morning I decided I had looked at clumps of trees for just too long. It was time to back off and view the whole wood.

When you transcribe a census of a town or city ward by ward it is hard to know just how many people you’ve included. There may be households that get copied twice accidentally, there may be houses omitted. There may be people who write their name over two lines in barely readable handwriting. It takes a proofread to realize there is only one person there. Equivalently it is possible to leave out one child in a large family or miss a boarder in a rooming house. Now, with a great deal of tidying up done, I have discovered that there were 37,586 people in Toronto (excluding St Patrick’s Ward), and they were organized into 6,718 households. A further 125 buildings contributed census forms but were vacant on census night. The average number of people per inhabited household was 5.59.

The various wards varied in population from largest to smallest as follows:
St James’s (Yonge east to Jarvis, King Street north to Bloor)

8,466 people; 1403 households; household density 6.03.
St John’s (Yonge west to University Ave, Queen north to Bloor)

8,101 people; 1599 households; household density 5.07.
St David’s (Jarvis Street east to the Don River, King Street north to Bloor)

8,019 people; 1452 households; household density 5.52.
St Andrew’s (Yonge Street west to Garrison Creek, King Street north to Queen)

6,281 people; 1144 households; household density 5.49.
St Lawrence’s (Yonge Street east to the Don River, the bay front north to King Street, with a few families out on the Kingston Road)

3,839 people; 698 households; household density 5.50.
St George’s (Yonge west to Garrison Creek, the bay front north to King Street)

2,880 people; 422 households; household density 6.82.

The ward with the highest household density was St George’s and the lowest was St John’s. This was surprising. I haven't done a careful survey on this point, but would assume there were more people classified as servants in St George's. Certainly there were a lot of families comfortably enough off to afford them. St George's also included three or four large hotels. On the other hand, St John's was populated by families of craftsmen in a variety of trades from stonecutter to shoemaker. There were servants--quite often girls of 14 or 15--but they were more likely to be found in smaller families. Larger families must have depended upon their offspring to get tasks done that would otherwise by carried out by hired help.

The housecleaning and renovation of the database as a whole is now complete. I can now start looking at individual houses and improve the presentation of the data to be found in each. St John's is getting a proofread, two districts done and now into the third of the seven.

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