Pages 8 – 10

Apr 16th, 2011 | Filed under Part 1: The Problems

The Structure of Chinnor’s Population

The analysis of some population figures for Chinnor and its hamlets is interesting in itself and also helps to give some idea of the problems and needs of the area as a whole as well as helping to predict the size of the teenage population with which this report is concerned.

The figures are based on a random sample which in fact comprises over half the population of the district and it is unlikely that there is more than a five per cent error either way with regard to the conclusions which are drawn.

It is difficult to estimate the exact population of the district in December 1968 but for Chinnor alone the following figures are probably accurate:

Year Pop’n
1931 1165
1941 1340
1951 1457
1961 1751
1965 (Oct) 2800
1968 (Dec) 4200

It would be reasonable to add 1200 for the hamlets making a present population of about 5400 in the area “at risk” for teenage entertainment.

The County Plan for Chinnor already quoted envisaged a population of about 4,500 for Chinnor itself and did not consider that there was any justification for extending the amount of development needed for this, at least until 1981. However, even without further housing development there is likely to be a gradual increase in population for the foreseeable future unless other economic and social factors should by any chance slow down or reverse this trend.

What is startling about Chinnor and its hamlets is the serious unbalance introduced into its population structure by the wave of new building since 1962. The following histogram shows the age and sex distribution for the sample taken from the whole population.


This shows a bulge in the 20 to 40 age groups which is confirmed in the detailed studies of the Cherry Tree Road estate which follow (vide infra) and which represents the couples of childbearing age who, almost exclusively, have occupied the new housing. Their natural inclination is to start or continue their child-bearing and rearing and this is reflected in the enormous increase in the under ten-year-olds which the figure shows so clearly. Of this number of small children about 80% were born while their parents were living in the village and about 20% moved in with their parents after their birth elsewhere. This means that any estimate of child population derived from obstetric records for the community should be expanded by about 20% in order to forecast future school attendances etc.

What is most significant of all is that the proportion of children and teenagers aged 10 to 19 falls off very sharply compared to the number of young children under 10. These are the comparatively small number of teenagers on our streets at present and they are the children of the pre-1960 villagers who have nearly all finished their child-bearing. This difference means, however, that no matter how noticeable the teenagers and their activities have been in 1968 in Chinnor, they are going to have approximately two and a half times as much impact again in 1978. The generation that could be thronging the street corners then are, at present, safely playing at home, going to bed early or watching television. In fact they are being adequately occupied and controlled, more or less, by their parents and the primary school, or are even confined to their prams and cots. Add ten years and a touch of puberty and their impact on the community is going to be a good deal greater than the impact of the present generation of teenagers.

It is interesting that the preponderance of female over male babies in the under-tens is confirmed in the annual figures during two thirds of these years and this is contrary to the national preponderance of male over female babies. This may merely be due to having too few babies for the difference to be statistically significant but it does mean that provision for leisure pursuits will have to take account of this feminine preponderance during the decade under observation here. The same applies to the 20 to 30 group where there appears to be a definite preponderance of women in this community.

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