HC Deb 12 June 1866 vol 184 c239

said, he would beg to ask the President of the Poor Law Board to explain the discrepancy in his Return No. 335, relating to "County Electoral Statistics," particularly to the population of towns exceeding 5,000 in the county of Stafford, from the Return No. 162, issued by the Registrar General on the same subject. This Return gave the population of West Bromwich as 17,000, and that of Wednesbury as 15,000. The House was aware that notice had been given of a Motion to the effect that these places should be separately represented, and therefore it was necessary that the statistics relating to them should be accurate. The Return of the Poor Law Board stated that the population of West Bromwich was 41,000, and that of Wednesbury 21,000. He wished to ask the right hon. Gentleman for some explanation of this discrepancy between the two Returns?


Sir, it is not so much that there is discrepancy in these Returns, as that they are Returns to different orders. These orders were made on different departments, and were not for the same Returns. One was sent to the Poor Law Board for a Return of population in different townships and parishes, and the other was sent to the Registrar General's Office for a Return of boroughs and market towns. Now, the places named in these Returns, though they bear the same names and are parts of the same districts, are not conterminous, and their areas contain different populations, and the Returns as made are in accordance with the terms of the orders. The two places named by the hon. Gentleman, returned as towns by the Registrar General, give for Wednesbury a population of 15,298, and for West Bromwich 17,024; but the Return from the Poor Law Board gives the population as for the parishes, and for Wednesbury gives the number of 21,268, and for West Bromwich 41,795. The hon. Gentleman referred in his notice to towns of above 5,000 population; some of these are returned by the Poor Law Board as being townships which are not named in the Census, because they are not properly towns, or the population of the town part is under 5,000. There are other differences of the same kind to be found in the Returns for Staffordshire, and are to be accounted for in the way I have named.