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November 13, 1937


JAMA. 1937;109(20):1638-1640. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780460048015

Ever since the famous attempt by Malthus to prophesy the extent of future populations, numerous other opinions have been advanced on the subject. The complete failure of his early prediction to materialize is reflected in most of the recent studies, which deal with the question of probable underpopulation rather than the malthusian forecast of unrestricted increase. The true interpretation of population trends, however, has been somewhat concealed by the fact that in most countries the birth rate per thousand still exceeds by a moderate margin the death rate. As has been pointed out by a number of authorities, this increase in population is an illusion as far as its ultimate significance is concerned. The direct comparison between the birth rate and the death rate is a crude method and fails to take into account certain other factors the recognition of which necessitates an utterly different conclusion. The disparity is due

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