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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/687

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669
INCREASE OF THE COLORED POPULATION.

living children, which surpasses anything of the kind among the whites. I have three negro tenants on my farm, and among them they have fourteen children; and for health, flesh, and vigor, I would compare them with any children at the North or elsewhere." It is probable that the advantage of the colored, in the matter of numbers, comes, not from unusual conservation of the living, but from early marriages under ordinary circumstances, and the rapidity with which children are born in the same family, and also, as the census reports show, from the greater tenacity of life from middle age onward. For these reasons mortality might be absolutely greater among the colored, and they still far outstrip the whites in the multiplication of numbers. But there is nothing in the form of positive evidence to show that, in the rural districts of the South, mortality is any greater among colored than among white children.

The colored increase of the last decade, as shown by the census, does not so far transcend the increase of the early decades of the century as to render it at all incredible; and yet, such are the conditions under which this has taken place, that it is no doubt to a certain extent exceptional, and will not be repeated in the future. It is quite safe to predict that the next decade will not show so large a percentage of increase as the last. No doubt the forthcoming "Census Report" will show a greater proportion than usual of colored children in the South from one to ten or twelve years of age. Reproduction will cease in a considerable percentage of these families before the close of the current decade; and, of those born during the last decade, not a very large proportion will marry before the beginning of the next decade. If this view has truth in it, and there should be no disturbing conditions, the rate of increase among the colored in the South will be greater from 1890 to 1900 than from 1880 to 1890, but not so great as from 1870 to 1880 (theory of Reichenbach; "Report of the Eighth Census," Introduction, viii). But, however this may be, no amount of question concerning the last two censuses, the ninth and tenth, can so far invalidate them, but they show the high probability that both freedom and diffusion in peace are favorable, rather than otherwise, to the multiplication of the colored race. This is so, even allowing a good margin for error in the census of 1870. So far as the census of 1880 covers the ground, it does not afford merely the evidence of negation; it is positive, and not likely ever to be shaken.

The aggregate white population of the sixteen Southern States and the District of Columbia was 9,466,355 in 1870, and 12,577,215 in 1880, the percentage of increase during the decade being 32·9. The aggregate white population of the twenty-two Northern States in 1870 was 23,864,272, and in 1880, 30,257,557, the percentage of increase being 26·8. Then we have for the last decade, increase of whites in the North, 26'8; increase of whites in the South, 32·9; and increase of colored in the United States, 34·8 per cent. It should be observed that