Would anyone know why child mortality rates seemed to be so high during this period? I understand that they didn't have the same medical knowledge as we do now, but it seems peculiar that so many children did not live to reach adulthood in this age.
I think that's basically what it comes down to, John, the lack of medical knowledge and facilities....a lot of children died before they reached the age of 5 or so because problems which occur regularly in infants either couldn't be diagnosed or couldn't be treated properly.
The mortality rates were especially high amongst the poorer classes who lived in squalid surroundings, if not on the streets altogether, and so the baby wasn't properly taken care of from the very beginning, and could be turned onto the streets at a very early age by the more unscrupulous parents.
Vaccinations and the like which are a formality with newborns these days were not so readily available a century ago and beyond.
I thought that child mortality rates had greatly improved during the early 19th century, at least in the United Kingdom, and that this had, in turn, contributed to an overall rise in population during the same period (ie because more babies were surviving to become adults). Of course this does not detract from the very obvious fact that child mortality in 1912 were a lot worse than in 2012.
Stan, I guess it depends what sector of people you're looking at because for the richer folk, as medical technology improved through the 1800's - which it certainly did - they could afford and were willing to use it. For the poorer folk, however, and I refer here specifically to areas like the East End of London, child mortality was very high. I don't have exact stats off the top of my head but there are some shocking stories of the lives of infants in Victorian London.....those who were lucky enough to make it past the age of 5 would mostly be put to labour soon afterwards anyway.