Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 59.djvu/612

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The statistics disclose the very gratifying fact that in ten years the general death rate has decreased from 19.6 per thousand to 17.8. This remarkable decrease is in the cities, where the rate has fallen from 21 in 1890 to 18.6 last year. The rate in the country has been about stationary, having been 15.3 in 1890 and 15.4 in 1900. This extraordinary decrease in the death rate of cities has been due chiefly to improved hygienic conditions. In the country a corresponding gain has not occurred. We may perhaps look for it in the course of the next ten years, though there is of course less room for improvement. New York City has one of the best records of progress, its death rate having decreased in ten years from 25.3 to 20.4, making the city in spite of its crowded tenement districts as healthful as Boston and decidedly more healthful than Philadelphia, in which city the death rate has remained practically stationary. But there is room for further progress in our eastern cities. Chicago has a death rate of only 16.2, and nearly all the cities of the northern and central States have a low death rate, Minneapolis and St. Paul, for example, having the incredibly low rates of 10.8 and 9.7, respectively. The most unfavorable conditions are in the south, the death rate of New Orleans, for example, being 28.9, an increase since 1890; and that of Charleston, 37.5. about the same as ten years ago. Almost as interesting as the decrease in the death rate is the decrease due to certain special diseases. The following table deserves to be quoted in full. It shows the death rate due to certain diseases per hundred thousand of population in the registration area in 1900 and 1890 together with the increase or decrease in the-rate.

This table shows that consumption is no longer the most fatal of diseases, pneumonia having taken its place. Deaths from consumption have decreased over 20 per cent., while a

Causes. Death Rate Increase Decrease
1900. 1890.
Consumption 190.5 245.4 54.9
Debility, atrophy 45.5 88.6 43.1
Diphtheria 35.4 70.1 34.7
Cholera infantum 47.8 79.7 31.9
Bronchitis 48.3 74.4 26.1
Convulsions 33.1 56.3 23.2
Diarrhœal diseases 85.1 104.1 19.0
Croup 9.8 27.6 17.8
Typhoid fever 33.8 46.3 12.5
Dis. of the brain 18.6 30.9 12.3
Malarial fever 8.8 19.2 10.4
Unknown cause 16.8 24.6 7.8
Inflammation of the brain and meningitis 41.8 49.1 7.3
Hydrocephalus 11.0 15.4 4.4
Dropsy 6.9 10.3 3.4
Whooping cough 12.7 15.8 3.1
Paralysis 32.8 35.5 2.7
Scarlet fever 11.5 13.6 2.1
Septicæmia 10.0 7.7 2.3
Diabetes 9.4 7.5 3.9
Pneumonia 191.9 186.9 5.0
Premature birth 33.7 25.2 8.5
Old Age 54.0 44.9 9.1
Cancer 60.0 47.9 12.1
Heart disease 134.0 121.8 12.2
Apoplexy 66.6 49.0 17.6
Influenza 23.9 6.2 17.7
Dis. of the kidney 83.7 59.7 24.0

greater relative decrease is recorded in the case of diphtheria and other diseases. The diseases that show an increase are chiefly those incident to advanced age, death from old age itself showing an increase of 20 per cent.


The steamship Erik has returned, bringing welcome news of Lieutenant Peary. It appears that he has succeeded in rounding the limit of the Greenland Archipelago, probably the most northern land, and has reached the highest altitude yet attained in the western hemisphere (83° 50'). Mr. Robert Stein and Mr. Samuel Warmbath were picked up by the Windward, but there is no news regarding Captain Sverdrup. During the present autumn Lieutenant Peary expects to make explorations and in the spring of next year again to make the attempt to pro-