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September 30, 1939


JAMA. 1939;113(14):1329. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800390051016

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About 4 per cent of all live births in the United States are births of children who are illegitimate, in that the births are "out of wedlock." The figure is not absolutely accurate, because states vary in the manner of keeping birth records. Several of our states do not classify illegitimate births separately. The figures of the United States Bureau of Census indicate that about 75,000 illegitimate children are born annually, of whom 35,000 are white and 40,000 Negro. The proportion of illegitimate to total births has been estimated to be 39.8 per thousand, with a rate of 20.3 per thousand for the white population and 162.4 for the colored population. Thus illegitimate births occur approximately eight times as frequently among the colored population as among the white. These rates are reflected by those states which have been denominated as public health problem No. 1. For example, the 1936 rates

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