Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 63.djvu/279

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.





To the Editor: I have read in your June issue the article entitled 'Race Decline' by George J. Engelmann, M.D., of Boston. The writer states 'The American population is not holding its own, it is not reproducing itself,' etc., and quotes statistics of college classes and of Massachusetts to prove it. When a young man thirty years ago I heard the same story, and people predicted that the American people of native stock would be extinct in a few generations. The census of 1900 flatly contradicts the gentleman's statements. It shows that the rate of natural increase is not exceeded by any nation on the face of the globe. What has doubled the population (white) of the states in the south since 1870? There is but little immigration to that section. Also what causes the great increase of population in states like Indiana where the foreign born are decreasing?

The fact is that the native population is increasing very rapidly and is not dying out, not even in Massachusetts. We hear a great deal about the prolific French Canadians and their great natural increase. It may astonish some people that the native Americans are increasing just as rapidly and in the south much more so. I will quote a few statistics taken from the recent census.[1]

Native born white native parentage 41,053,917
Under 20 years of age 19,556,558
Percentage under 20 47.6%

In the province of Quebec (French Canada) the 1901 census shows that 49 per cent, of the population were under twenty years of age, or a little more than 1 per cent, more than the native Americans. If we omit those under five years of age the percentages will be as follows:

Native American from 5 to 19 inclusive 34.3%
French Canadians from 5 to 19 inclusive 34.6%

This indicates a greater death rate among the French Canadians under five years of age. Now for figures for typical native states I take Indiana in the north, and North Carolina in the south. In the former the foreign-born are but 512 per cent, of the population and in the latter less than half of 1 per cent.

Under 20 years of age 46.3%
From 5 to 19 inclusive 34%
North Carolina.
Under 20 years of age 51.7%
From 5 to 19 inclusive 37%

Notice how much larger the percentage of children in North Carolina is than in French Canada. This is typical of all the southern states. Among the mountaineers the percentage of children even exceeds this, and a comparison of the number of children among these people and the French Canadians would make the latter look like a decadent race. It is true that in Massachusetts and some of the adjoining states the foreign element increases in the natural way more rapidly than the native, but this does not hold good as to the whole country.

But the showing made by Massachusetts is not as bad as indicated by Dr. Engelmann. I quote from Vol. 3 of

  1. Vol. 2—Population, part 2, page 2, Table 1.