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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/47

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43
THE JEWS: FACE AND ENVIRONMENT

In the former the excess is large, while in the latter it is small. This is seen from the table given above.

In Algeria, the only oriental country where vital statistics of the Jews are published, the natural increase is very great. The social conditions of the native Jews in that country are purely oriental. Early marriages are the rule, and celibacy almost unknown. This brings about a high rate of fertility; their birth rate was 44.67 per 3,000, with a correspondingly high mortality rate of 20.58. But after all the excess of births over deaths is large, reaching annually 24.09 per 1,000. In European Russia, where social conditions of the Jews are more occidental, the excess of births is smaller, only 17.61; in Austria, 16.63; in Hungary, 14.90, and in Roumania, 12.34. All these eastern European Jews show rates of natural increase characteristic of eastern people. Proceeding to western Europe we find a different condition of affairs. The rates of proliferation are low, owing to the low marriage and birth rates; even their favorable mortality rates are insufficient to leave a substantial excess of births over deaths. Thus in Bavaria the natural increase was during 1900 only 4.60, while among the non-Jewish population it was nearly three times as large, 12.6; in Prussia the natural increase was in 1904, Jews 4.49, and christians 16.4; in cities it is even lower, only 3.70 in Berlin (10.24 among christians) and in Prague 2.59 (11.29 among christians). The influence of social and economic conditions on the natural increase of the Jews is well displayed in the various provinces of the Austrian Empire. In Galicia, where the majority of the Jews live in poverty and want, and are rigidly devoted to their religion, the natural increase was during 100, 17.92 per 1,000 (christians, 16.61); in Bukowina, where conditions are about the same, it was 12.66 (christians,15.83); but in Lower Austria where their social, intellectual and economic conditions are much superior, it was only 7.69, while in Bohemia, where the majority of the Jews are well-to-do and are socially comparable with the western European Jews, the natural increase is very low, lower even than in Berlin, only 1.35 per 1,000 (christians, 10.76). There are good reasons to believe that in Italy, France, England and the United States, the same conditions prevail among the native Jews.

These conditions are only a recent phenomenon among the Jews in western Europe. During the first half of the nineteenth century the excess of births over deaths was equal, and even superior to that of the christians. In Prussia, for instance, the average annual birth rate during 1822-40 was 35.46; the death rate, 21.44; leaving an excess of births over deaths of 14.02 per 1,000, as against only 10.40 among the christian population (births 40.01 and deaths 29.61). This excess began to sink gradually but regularly, as can be seen from the following figures: