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The long life expectancy of the colonists was due to the abundant supply of food and firewood and the low population density that limited spread of infectious diseases.The death rate from diseases, especially malaria, was higher in the warm, humid southern colonies than in cold New England.
After 1829 population growth was very rapid due to high birth rates (8 children per family versus 4 in Europe) and lower death rates than in Europe, and immigration.
North Carolina was the leading producer of naval stores, which included turpentine (used for lamps), rosin (candles and soap), tar (rope and wood preservative) and pitch (ships' hulls).
Another export was potash, which was derived from hardwood ashes and was used as a fertilizer and for making soap and glass.
Tobacco was a major crop in the Chesapeake Bay region and rice a major crop in South Carolina.
Dried and salted fish was also a significant export.