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September 28, 1901


JAMA. 1901;XXXVII(13):838-839. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.02470390040009

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An English clergyman, the Dean of Ripon—in that usual outlet of British feeling, a letter to the Times— laments the decrease of the birth-rate in England, which has fallen from 34 per 1000 of the population in 1875 to 29 per 1000 in 1900. At this rate he concludes the birth-rate will in time be entirely suppressed and the climax of England's decadence be complete—with its final baby. Such forebodings remind one of Mark Twain's calculations on the length of the Mississippi, which was continually being shortened by cutting off bends. He calculated the time when Cairo would be a suburb of New Orleans and offered the result as an example of the beauties of statistics which give the largest results of theory for the smallest investment of facts. The birth-rate of England, like that of every modern civilized country with a higher standard of living and diminishing proletariat,

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