The Demographic Context
One of the premises of this study is that any given demographic event is the outcome of the interaction of the components of population movement and the social setting within which it occurs. In this chapter the demographic setting within which the fertility profile of the region for the period being investigated existed is abstracted and analysed. The nature of the interaction of the two spheres is the subject matter of the latter chapters. Before looking at the demographic context, however, issues relating to data quality will be considered. The two major areas of consideration involved here are those of availability and quality.
The two main sources of data on the demographic processes are censuses and the reports of the registrars general of the various territories on births and deaths. The other sources of primary data on the demographic processes are the colonial records. These include annual reports of governors and other colonial administrators, reports of commissions of inquiry, the reports of various and sundry specialists on specific occurrences related to their area of specialization. Also included in these records are the minutes of the legislatures of the colonies, the reports of the proceedings of the British House of Commons in the form of the Parliamentary Papers and official notices as contained in the gazettes.