John Graunt

(1620—1674) statistician

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(1620–74; b. London, England; d. London, England)

Prosperous London haberdasher and Freeman of the Drapers' Company. Graunt became interested in the information implicit in the weekly ‘Bills of Mortality’ for London and, in 1662, he published Natural and Political Observations Mentioned in a following Index and Made Upon the Bills of Mortality. This was well received by the Royal Society, which duly elected him to be a Fellow. At one time he had a fine collection of paintings, described by the diarist Samuel Pepys as ‘the best collection of anything almost I saw’. However in 1666 he lost much property in the Great Fire of London and he died in poverty. His book contains the foundations of demography, showing understanding of the concepts of sample and population and introducing the life table.

Subjects: Probability and Statistics — Public Health and Epidemiology.

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