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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/484

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

mittee of the various State boards of charities to the National Conference of Charities in 1887 was, that "except for the insane, who are everywhere constantly accumulating beyond their due ratio to the whole population, there has never been for a period of five years any increase in the proportion of paupers to the population; while for longer periods there has generally been a decrease in the number of the poor as compared with the whole population"; and this, too, notwithstanding the very great obstacles which stand in the way of all public and private effort for the checking of pauperism in a country like the United States, "which annually receives such armies of poor from European countries, and at home permits intemperance to breed so much of pauperism, especially in cities."

In England, where the population, between 1875 and 1885, increased in a larger proportion than in any previous decade, there was no increase, but a very steady decrease of pauperism; or, from an annual average number of 952,000, or 4·2 per cent of the whole population in 1870-77, to 787,000, or 3 per cent of the population for 1880-'84. For Scotland, the corresponding figures are much the same; although the Scotch administration of the poor is totally independent of that of the English. In short, there is no evidence that pauperism is increasing in England and Scotland with their recent marked increase in population, or that the people are less fully employed than formerly; but the evidence is all to the contrary. In Ireland, the experience has been different. "Here, there has been an increase in pauperism, accompanied by a decline in population," the number of paupers in receipt of relief, on the 1st of January, 1887, being returned as 113,241, as compared with 106,717 in 1883.[1] Comparing 1880 with 1850 the decline of pauperism in the United Kingdom was about 40 per cent.

Prussia, with a marked increase in population, returned a decrease in the number of paupers receiving relief from cities and towns from 3·87 per cent of the whole number in 1884, to 3·65 per cent in 1885.

Crime in Great Britain is diminishing. The same is reported of Italy. In the United States, while crime has diminished in a few States, for the whole country it has, within recent years, greatly increased. This is to be attributed, in the Northern States, mainly to the great foreign immigration, and, in the Southern, to the emancipation of the negroes.

Finally, an absolute demonstration that the progress of mankind, in countries where the new economic conditions have been most influential in producing those disturbances and transitions in industry and society which to many seem fraught with disaster, has been for the better and not for the worse, is to be found in the marked prolongation of human life, or decline in the average death-rate, which

  1. "The Material Progress of Great Britain"; address before the Economic Section of the British Association, 1887, by Robert Giffen.