“Women and Children First”

A Data-Story on Survival Rates among the 2,207 Titanic Passengers and Crew Members

On the night of April 14th, 1912, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and began to sink. There were 2,207 named people on board the ill-fated vessel. Only 712 survived. Encyclopedia Titanica researches the profiles of all the people who faced the disaster. Here’s the data story behind those numbers.

About 37% of the passengers of the Titanic were women. First class was truly gender-balanced. It had an almost perfect 50–50 ratio of female and male passengers. On the other hand, 3rd class had a 70% male dominance. The crew was largely male. Only 23 women were on the crew versus 867 men. But almost all female crew members survived (20), while only 191 of the men made it to shore.

Statistics seem to confirm that “Women and children first!” was enforced. Only 22% of Titanic’s crew and passengers were women. Yet ladies were 50.5% of the survivors. Out of the 1718 men on board, 352 survived the sinking, and only 161 of these were passengers.

Number of Titanic Passengers grouped by Gender

The Rich Survived. The Poor Died.

Gender was not the only factor that influenced survival rate. Not surprisingly, first-class passengers survived at the highest rate. In fact, 62% of them were rescued and made it to New York. The survival rate dropped to 42% for 2nd-class passengers and to 25% for the third-class. Among crew, members of the restaurant staff had the lowest survival rate. Only 3 of 69 restaurant crew members made it, or 4% of all restaurant workers. Deck crew was more lucky, with 65% surviving.

Number of Titanic Passengers grouped by Survival Status

Passengers were 66% of all the people who set off on the Titanic from Southampton, England. More than half of them had a third-class ticket. Victualling staff made up most of the crew (48%), followed by engineering staff (36%). In fact, there were more food and beverage staff members than first-class passengers on the Titanic.

Number of Titanic Passengers grouped by Class / Department

Of the 1783 Titanic crew members for which we have job/role information, 40% were stewards. Firemen were the second largest group of crew members (20%). Among the passengers, the largest category was general labourers or farm laborers (258). This demographic was almost certainly of lower income status, if not outright impoverished. Of these laborers, only 12 survived. Personal maids the other hand, are the most represented (known) job category of passenger survivors. In fact, all of the 21 passengers named as personal maids were rescued. They were all women and clearly benefited from “Women and children first.”

Number of Titanic Passengers grouped by Job

Fare prices paid by Titanics’s passengers varied significantly. Some third-class members paid up to £69 for their ticket. And some first-class passengers as little as £1 10s! Of the three, fare for a first-class journey had the widest range of prices. The most expensive passage was a £512 fare. This was paid by Mr. Thomas D.M. Cardeza for the suite he occupied with his mother (Mrs. Charlotte Wardle Cardeza) and his two servants (Mr. Gustave J. Lesueur and Miss Annie Moore Ward). They all survived.

Class / Department and Fare Price

Most passengers were from the UK or U.S. But some came from as far as Lebanon.

Number of Titanic Passengers grouped by Home Country

All the data on Titanic passengers and crew members is now in Silk. Anyone can use it to ask questions and build their own data stories with maps, charts, and easy-to-filter tables (like the one below). It’s also simple to embed any Silk visualization in blogs and Web pages. It even works on mobile browsers. We invite you to explore the Titanic as a data story and show us what you learn. We’re online @silkjournalism or @silkdotco.

Titanic Passengers DB

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