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JAMA 100 Years Ago
September 20, 2000

THE CENSUS AND MORTALITY STATISTICS.

Author Affiliations
 

JenniferReiling, Editorial Assistant

JAMA. 2000;284(11):1354. doi:10.1001/jama.284.11.1354-JJY00030-2-1

Considering that fact that the increase of urban population is one of the tendencies of the time that troubles well-wishers of the race, and its outcome is looked on with some fearful questioning by economists, the insane ambitions of municipalities to exceed each other in population has a rather peculiar aspect. The revelations of the census have been a serious disappointment to many, and they already affect to some extent the health statistics of several municipalities, which suffer somewhat in the increase of their death-rate corresponding to the decrease of population from their estimate. It is probable that when the figures are fully in, some changes in this direction will be found to be quite general, though perhaps not extensive enough to materially affect the records. We notice a tendency to disregard the census figures in some quarters, the health officials claiming that they are in error. It seems to us that even if there is a possibility that such is the case it would still be better to follow them as the best accredited official records. The increase of death-rate would probably not be large in any case, and the data would be free from the suspicion that they had been affected or sophisticated through local feeling. A slightly too unfavorable record in this respect is better than the opposite; it has the advantage of being on the safe side and in such, as in many other matters, there is a certain power in understatement.

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