The Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. MONDAY, APRIL 28, 1890. THE POPULATION OF THE COLONY.
The other day we received and published a telegram from Wellington which contained the information that the returns of immigration and emigration for the year, ended on 31st March last, showed the total number •of arrivals to have been exactly the same as the total of departures, viz, 16,291 persons .each way. It was, however, added, that this equilibrium Avas brought about by the singular circumstance that while 735 more chil-, dren left the colony than arrived at its shores, exactly 735 more adult persons arrived than departed. Thus it would seem that in the matter of
wage-earning population the colony had gained—though but a little, yet still gained—during the year. This is a decidedly better state of things than during the previous year, when we lost in round figures 10,000 of our adult population, but though comparatively an undeniable and satisfactory improvement, we do not regard the figures as conclusive that, during the year 1889-90, there was an actual gain of population by immigration. And for this reason— namely, that whereas the numbers of arrivals are ascertained with certainty | at the several ports the numbers of departures are, we believe, always understated.,. Not that the figures are intentionally falsified, but it is a wellknown fact that the figures of departures are compiled from the register of bookings by the different steamship agencies, and do not include the very large proportion of passengers who do not book at all, but pay their passages on board the steamers. To arrive at a correct estimate of the outward traffic, the numbers of arrivals at Australian ports should be collected at those ports; and if this were done a correct comparison could be .instituted. But it cannot be done otherwise, and we venture to say that if the true facts were thus arrived at, it would be found that last year there Avas a very considerable preponderance of emigration over immigration, though not by any means so large a one as that of the year previous. Even were it not so, then upon the showing of the Government returns, we are in an almost i stationary position, instead of receiving as we ought to be , receiving large accessions from without. The fact is plain enough, and so also is the reason for it, and we shall never see a return to a more healthy state of things until a radical change is eiTei-tecl in the matter of land administration. That is whei'e the shoe pinches.