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May 10, 1924


JAMA. 1924;82(19):1561-1562. doi:10.1001/jama.1924.02650450073023

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Birth and Death Rates in France During the Last Hundred Years  Last year, Prof. A. Calmette of the Pasteur Institute pointed out that the mortality from infectious diseases had diminished during the last thirty-five years (The Journal, July 7, 1923, p. 54). With preventive measures based on Pasteur's discoveries, we save an average of 90,000 lives a year. But if our public health services were properly organized and the mortality rate of France were brought down to that of Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, we could save 180,000 lives every year, and with such saving the population of France would have remained around 40,000,000. However, since 1806—that is, since exact birth and death statistics have been kept—the birth rate has steadily declined. Recently, Calmette sent to the Academy of Medicine curves of the births and deaths during this period. These show that, during the first half of the

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