Early records are scant and there are very few records of early births, marriages and deaths from the churches at the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth centuries. Indeed, there are periods as long as 70 years in which no birth or death is recorded. Clearly, there must have been births and deaths during this time - see the page on religion for some suggestions as to why there are no records.
By the time of the first census, 1841, there were 290 residents in 52 families. The community grew by almost two thirds between 1851 and 1861and growth continued until 1891 when there were just over 800 residents.
After 1891, growth swiftly reversed so that by 1911, the last accessible census, the population had almost halved.
The first census shows that the majority of families participated in the woollen trade, with all but nine of the heads of household giving their trade as either clothier or weaver.
It is reasonable to assume that people moved to the village either to set up as a clothier (land would be available) or to work as a weaver for one of the clothiers already living here.
Almost certainly because of the lack of running water, no mill was ever established at Scapegoat Hill. So, with mechanisation of the woollen industry, handloom weaving became more precarious. Employment was available in the mills at Heath House (Bolster Moor), in Golcar and Slaithwaite, so it is likely that families moved nearer to their place of work, explaining the decline in population at the end of the nineteenth century. See the page on handloom weaving for more information.