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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/188

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174
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Bosnia, Glück[1] again refers to it as characteristic. Granted, with Weissenberg,[2] that it is an acquired characteristic, the effect of long-continued subjection to unfavorable sanitary and social environment, it has none the less become a hereditary trait; for not even the perhaps relatively recent prosperity of Jacobs's West End Jews has sufficed to bring them up to the level of their English brethren in capacity of the lungs.

At this point a surprising fact confronts us. Despite the appearances of physical degeneracy which we have noted, the Jew betrays an absolutely unprecedented tenacity of life. It far exceeds, especially in the United States, that of any other known people.[3]: This we may illustrate by the following example: Suppose two groups of one hundred infants each, one Jewish, one of average American parentage (Massachusetts), to be born on the same day. In spite of all the disparity of social conditions in favor of the latter, the chances, determined by statistical means, are that one half of the Americans will die within forty-seven years; while the first half of the Jews will not succumb to disease or accident before the expiration of seventy-one years. The death rate is really but little over half that of the average American population. This holds good in infancy as in middle age. Lombroso has put it in another way. Of one thousand Jews born, two hundred and seventeen die before the age of seven years; while four hundred and fifty-three Christians—more than twice as many—are likely to die within the same period. This remarkable tenacity of life is well illustrated by the following table from a most suggestive article by Hoffmann.[4] We can not forbear from reproducing it in this place.

Death Rates per 1,000 Population in the Seventh, Tenth, and Thirteenth Wards of New York City, 1890, by Place of Birth.

Ages. Total. United States
(includes col-
ored).
Ireland. Germany. Russia and
Poland
(mostly Jews)
Total 25.25 45.18 36.94 22.14 16.71
Under 15 years 41.28 62.25 40.71 30.38 32.31
15 to 25 years 7.55 9.43 15.15 7.14 2.53
25 to 65 years 21.64 25.92 39.51 21.20 7.99
65 and under 104.72 105.96 120.92 88.51 84.51

From this table it appears, despite the extreme poverty of the Russian and Polish Jews in the most densely crowded portions


  1. 1896, p. 591.
  2. 1895, p. 374.
  3. On Jewish demography, consult the special appendix in Lombroso, 1874; Andree, 1881, p. 70; Jacobs, 1891, p. 49. Dr. Billings, in Eleventh United States Census, 1890, Bulletin No. 19, gives data for our country. On pathology, see Buschan, 1895.
  4. The Jew as a Life Risk. The Spectator (an actuarial journal) 1895, pp. 222-224, and 233, 234). Lagneau, 1861, p. 411, speaks of a viability in Algeria even lower than, that of the natives.