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June 6, 1908


JAMA. 1908;L(23):1908. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.02530490036007

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According to the latest reports, the vital statistics of France show a still further marked decrease in the birth rate—33,000 reduction in 1907 against an average decrease of 12,000 a year for the preceding seven years. The deaths of the same year are said to exceed the births by 19,000. If these figures are correct France would seem to be indeed in the act of committing race suicide, for her population has ceased to be stationary. Many economists have held that a moderate, seeming decrease in the birth rate of a country is a sequence of the thrift of its inhabitants, though whether such thrift tends altogether to national advancement may be open to question. The lines,

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,

Where wealth accumulates and men decay,

may be as applicable here as to the conditions of which Goldsmith wrote. There can be no question,

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