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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/39

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35
THE JEWS: RACE AND ENVIRONMENT

years was more marked among the christians: In 1891 the Jewish mortality was 57.58 per cent, of the christian mortality, while in 1903 it was 63.47 per cent., which indicates that they are approaching the mortality rates of their non-Jewish neighbors. Data for Warsaw, Poland, show the same process: In 1882 the mortality was, Jews 24.48, general population 32.34; in 1891, Jews 20.27, general population 23.05; 1896, Jews 20.42, general population 23.54; in 1901, Jews 18.22, general population 21.22. All this indicates that in recent years the differences in the mortality between Jews and christians are being obliterated.

Death is a biological phenomenon, and can not be influenced by purely ethical or metaphysical factors, such as, for instance, religion, when Jews are compared with christians. Differences in religion are consequently not sufficient to explain the differences in the mortality rates between Jews and non-Jews. Nor can racial affinities explain completely the low mortality of the Jews, because physically the Jews bear a striking resemblance to the non-Jewish races and peoples among whom they live, and also because the differences in the rates are too large in each country to admit racial uniformity. A study of differences in social and economic conditions is more fruitful of results. Thus, in Budapest the death rate of the Jews was only 69.47 per cent, of that of the christians. But, as is aptly pointed out by Korosi, according to the census of 1891, out of every 1,000 inhabitants there were common laborers, among the catholics 118, among the Lutherans 125, among the Jews only 67; domestic servants were found, among 1,000 catholics 95, Lutherans 98, and among the Jews only 17; merchants were found, among 1,000 catholics 20, Lutherans 36, while among the Jews the figure was 131. These social differences are of sufficient importance to greatly influence the death rates and to account for the favorable showing made by the Jews. As is well known, certain occupations are more deadly than others. When to this are added other social factors which differentiate the Jews from the christians, such as the rarity of alcoholism and illegitimacy among the former, and the proverbial care bestowed by them on their offspring, thus contributing to a low infant mortality, the effects of the social factors become apparent.

 

Infant Mortality

All this is depicted in a striking manner when infantile mortality among Jews is considered. It appears, namely, from all available data that the Jews do not have the advantage over others when deaths of adults, particularly persons over fifty, are compared. It is only during infancy and childhood that fewer deaths occur among them. In Prussia, where the mortality rates are classified in the census reports