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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/741

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

OCTOBER, 1891.


 

LESSONS FROM THE CENSUS.
By CARROLL D. WRIGHT, A. M.,

UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER OF LABOR.

I.

WITH the statement of the total population of the country, and of each State distributed as to counties, cities, and towns, the popular interest in the Federal census begins to wane, and, as the results relative to the features other than merely of enumeration are obtained, the scientific interest increases. This interest is entertained by all classes of students: the economist desires immediate results as to production, wealth, debt, taxation, etc.; the social scientist is looking for statements relative to color and race, conjugal condition, the death-rate and health of the people, and facts covering various other relations; and the states-man and politician are anxious to secure comparisons of the growth of population, the changes incident to new productive enterprises, the concentration of wealth, and all the other expansive elements which concern the great discussions in which they are engaged. Under the new census, the eleventh, the interest of other bodies is brought into activity. The question as to whether the homes and farms of the country are owned by the occupants, and the extent to which they are mortgaged, as well as the psychological reasons for incurring mortgage indebtedness, serves to interest, and in a most lively way, the student who is sociologically inclined. The enumeration of the surviving soldiers and the widows of deceased soldiers of the war of the rebellion brings into play not only the interest of the veterans themselves but of the legislators of the country, and, in addition, the sentiment of the whole community. All these various features of our Federal census excite the interest of the people on a broader scale and in more thoroughly scientific directions than would the enumera-