Life expectancy at birth in the mid eighteenth century was only 36 or 37 while one hundred years later it had risen by 3 or 4 years to 40. This obviously meant that there were fewer deaths each year, it is in fact documented by the Cambridge Group for the history of population and social structure that the crude death rate (not including infant mortality) in England dropped from 26 deaths per 1000 of population by 4 people per 1000 to 22 per 1000 people, this equates to 143,000 fewer people dying per year by 1851.
The reasons for the fall in mortality rates and rise in life expectancy have been debated with a few ideas put forward. Advances in medical knowledge led to the first voluntary hospital opening in 1720 with a total of 33 operating by the end of the century, dispensaries offering free medicine and the humanitarian interest in physiology also increased. Unfortunately for those with infectious diseases, terminal illness or those claiming poor relief voluntary hospitals... [continues]
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