January 12, 1907


JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(2):145. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02520280057009

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An item is going the round of the newspapers based on certain statistics found in the United States Census of 1900, in which it is inferred that human longevity in this country is becoming impaired owing to the lack of the "simple life" in our modern civilization. Because the death rate in persons above 60, and especially in those over 70, has apparently increased, the magazine and newspaper writers see a national deterioration, and to use the language of one of them, the figures show that, "notwithstanding improved medical knowledge and the benefits of modern sanitation, we are dying earlier than our grandparents did." The reason advanced for this state of affairs is that our life is more complex and luxurious than was that of our forbears. Allowing for deficiencies in the earlier censuses and the still imperfect registration methods over a large portion of our country, there is nothing

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