Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/622

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magnitude that we hesitate to predict its possible effects, is at once suggested.

Let us now for a moment take up the consideration of a second physical characteristic of city populations—viz., stature. Some interesting points are concerned herein. The apparently contradictory testimony in this respect becomes in itself highly suggestive, I think, for the student of social problems. A few of the older observers found that city populations sometimes surpassed those of the country in the average of bodily height. Thus Quetelet[1] and Villermé (1829) discovered such a superiority of stature in the Belgian cities, amounting to several centimetres. From this coincidence Quetelet derived a law to the effect that the superior advantages of urban residence were directly reflected in the physical development of the people. This hypothesis is now definitely disproved by all the data available. If there be a law at all in respect of average statures, it demonstrates rather the depressing effects of city life than the reverse. For example, Hamburg is far below the average for Germany;[2] Dunant (1867) finds it true in Geneva; Pagliani observed it in Turin. The city of Madrid contains almost the shortest male population in all Spain; only one province, Valladolid, standing slightly below it. Residents of its poorer quarters are absolutely the shortest in the entire peninsula.[3] All over Britain there are indications of the same law, that town populations are on the average comparatively short of stature. The townsmen of Glasgow and Edinburgh are four inches or more shorter than the country folk roundabout, and thirty-six pounds on the average lighter in weight.[4] Dr. Beddoe, the great authority upon this subject, concludes his investigation of the population of Great Britain thus: "It may therefore be taken as proved that the stature of men in the large towns of Britain is lowered considerably below the standard of the nation, and as probable that such degradation is hereditary and progressive.[5] Not all authorities are able to find such differences, especially in the less industrially developed portions of Europe; as in Hungary, where Scheiber[6] could detect no variation between city and country at all. Ammon, in Baden, alone among modern observers, finds a higher average stature in the cities. He ascribes it to greater frequency of the tall Teutonic type.[7] Nevertheless, the trend of testimony is in favor of Beddoe's view, as a rule; especially when applied to the great modern factory towns,

  1. 1869, p. 33.
  2. Meisner, 1889, p. 116. Reischel, 1889, pp. 139-142, notes it of smaller cities, as in Erfurt.
  3. Olóriz, 1896, pp. 42 and 60.
  4. British Association, Anthropometric Committee Report, 1883, pp. 273 circa.
  5. 1867, p. 180.
  6. 1881, p. 254.
  7. 1893, p. 116.