Birth Analysis


Our listings of the CULPIN births registered at the General Register Office (GRO) is complete from the start of civil registration in 1837 until 1909. This is a useful resource and hence enables us to analyse birth patterns for the those with the surname, across the era.  Although care must be taken, especially in early years when registration was not compulsory, there are some useful indications.

Firstly the number of children, across the country, born with the surname CULPIN was not great at any point; a total of just over 950 being born for the seventy years from the start of civil registration, or an average of just 13 per year.  In the years until 1850, birth numbers only break into double figures twice, and only go above 20  three times between 1837 and 1909. The numbers are shown in Graph 1.

Graph 1: Total CULPIN births recorded by GRO from 1837 until 1909

The figures also show more female births than males in most years and across all decades. This appears to be an unusual pattern and one that is opposite to the normal trend. Although international statistics, even today, show overall more females than males in the total population, the number of male births is nearly always higher than female ones. This has always been the case, or at least from the 17th century.

Richard Harris in “Why Are More Baby Boys Born Than Girls?” states “It’s been a mystery why that ratio isn’t 50:50, since that’s what basic biology would predict. But scientists have noticed a tilted sex ratio at birth since the 17th century.”, or in other words more boys are born than girls in general terms. Hence the CULPIN statistics are interesting.

This is useful in general terms but for actual data it is worth considering Robert Woods work on birth patterns. In his book, “The Demography of Victorian England and Wales” he analyses birth patterns for Victorian England and Wales. This enables us to compare CULPIN birth data against totals nationally for that period.

Woods uses the concept of SRB or ‘sex ratio at birth’ to analyse male and female births and Graph 2 shows a summary of his figures.

Graph 2: SRB analysis from ‘The Demography of Victorian England and Wales’ by Robert Woods

SRB is defined as the number of male births per 1000 female births and is a useful measure to show the balance between male and female births across the era. It clearly shows a greater number of males being born across the period from 1840, than girls.

SRB equivalents for CULPIN births per decade from the 1840s

Using the CULPIN data, equivalent ‘CULPIN’ SRB calculations would be as in Table 1.

This shows that the number of boys born is the opposite of the national trends established by Woods. The number of Culpin births was always low so the figures show equivalents based upon the proportion of boys and girls scaled up to a thousand for comparisons with Wood’s analysis.

In no decade did the number of boys outnumber the number of girls.

Whether these calculations are significant (or given the numbers, statistically significant) or not, they do show an interesting pattern.

The number of male offspring and those that would carry the name into the next generation was low but if Woods analysis is a useful comparison, it is lower than the norm across the era. Again care must be taken with the low numbers involved, but the patterns are interesting.

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