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JAMA 100 Years Ago
February 2, 2011

THE DECREASING GERMAN BIRTH-RATE

JAMA. 2011;305(5):514. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1918

The race-suicide question is beginning to come to the front in Germany. Last year's birth-rate was only thirty-three per thousand, as against thirty-six for the decade ending with 1890, and forty-two in 1875. It is highly probable that this decrease will continue. The phenomenon is the natural consequence of increasing thrift and prosperity and changed social conditions. It is asserted that the higher standard of living tends to produce physiologic conditions which in themselves decrease fertility. Economic and social reasons, however, including the tendency to delay marriage under modern conditions of life, are ample to account for the gradual decrease in highly civilized countries at the present time. The birth-rate does not decrease rapidly among the members of an improvident proletariat.

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