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January 1, 1938

Illness and Medical Care in Puerto Rico

JAMA. 1938;110(1):70. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790010072026

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Abstract

Puerto Rico has for many years operated a system of public assistance which combines medical care with other relief methods. The gross area of this and the adjacent islands is 3,435 square miles. In 1930 the population of this area was 1,543,913; thus the average number of inhabitants is about 450 per square mile. Less than 1 per cent of the population is foreign born; about 75 per cent is white, the remainder consisting of Negroes. The income of Puerto Rican families varies considerably. The median annual income of the rural families is $88 and of the urban families $137. Diet consists of rice and beans twice a day; coffee with unrefined sugar and with or without milk, twice or three times a day; very small quantities of bread, usually without butter; tuberous vegetables, and fruit in small quantities, chiefly for children. The housing conditions are marked by severe crowding,

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