… statistical research accompanies the individual through his entire earthly existence. It takes account of his birth, his baptism, his vaccination, his schooling and the success thereof, his diligence, his leave of school, his subsequent education and development; and, once he becomes a man, his physique and his ability to bear arms. It also accompanies the subsequent steps of his walk through life; it takes note of his chosen occupation, where he sets up his household and his management of the same; if he saved from the abundance of his youth for his old age, if and when and at what age he marries and who he chooses as his wife — statistics looks after him when things go well for him and when they go awry. Should he suffer a shipwreck in his life, undergo material, moral or spiritual ruin, statistics take note of the same. Statistics leaves a man only after his death — after it has ascertained the precise age of his death and noted the causes that brought about his end.
Ernst Engel, 1862