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Almost 10,000 people died from TB in Ireland in 1916
'The March of the White Plague': a cartoon from The Lepracaun, Nov 1907. At the Tuberculosis Exhibition in October 1907, it was claimed that death by consumption in Ireland was 'the highest in the civilised world'. Photo: DigitalLibrary@Villanova University

Almost 10,000 people died from TB in Ireland in 1916

Dublin, 13 August 1917 - 9,323 people died from tuberculosis (TB) in Ireland in 1916.

That figure was revealed with the publication of the 53rd Annual Report of the Registrar-General for Ireland. The report provides vital statistics of the reality of life in Ireland and of the Irish experience.

In 1916, for instance, there were 22,245 marriages registered in Ireland, which equated to a rate of 5.13 per 1,000 of the estimated population. This rate is 0.44 below that of 1915 and only 0.11 below the average for the 10 years from 1906 to 1915.

There were 91,437 births in 1916, 47,161 of them of them boys and 44,276 of the girls. And there were more people born than died; 71,391 deaths were registered in Ireland, 35,975 of them men and 35,416 women.

The death rate from TB was equivalent to 2.15 per 1,000 of the population. With the exception of the years 1912, 1913 and 1914, the rate for 1916 was the lowest recorded in Ireland, although it still remains higher than that in England and Wales – where the rate was 1.53 per 1,000 – and for Scotland – where the rate was 1.59 per 1,000 – in 1916.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.