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December 12, 1903


Author Affiliations

Chief Statistician for Vital Statistics, U. S. Census Office. WASHINGTON, D. C.

JAMA. 1903;XLI(24):1453-1459. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.92490430001002

The subject of vital statistics, or rather of mortality statistics, which is the only branch discussed in this paper, is perhaps more interesting to members of this Association than to any other class, inasmuch as in certain particulars they are responsible for the returns on which these statistics are based, and because such statistics furnish the means by which progress in medical science is measured.

To accurately serve this and other purposes, however, it is necessary that all statistics of this kind—national, state and local—shall be compiled under a definite system of general application, and that the data shall be collected under a similarly definite system, having direct reference to the exact statistical and other uses for which they are designed.

Many systems of collecting the data have been experimented with, but to all persons of extended practical experience it has become a settled principle that no adequate results can

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