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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

PREVALENCE OF THE PLAGUE IN INDIA

From January 1 to March 16, 1907, there have been 254,033 deaths from plague in India, a marked increase upon the returns for the 1906, when the deaths from plague for the whole year amounted to only 316,550. The number of deaths from plague in India during the years 1904, 1905 and 1906 were respectively 1,023,815, 946,558 and 316,550. The number of deaths from plague in India from January 1 to the middle of March during the years 1904, 1905, 1906 and 1907 amounted to 253,903, 316,801, 70,761 and 254,033, respectively. The number of deaths during the current year are therefore, to the middle of March, somewhat above the number in 1904 during the year, when over 1,000,000 died of plague; they are, however, considerably fewer than the deaths which occurred during the corresponding period of 1905, but this does not hold for the latter part of March. The outlook is, therefore, not hopeful. Since plague appeared in India in the autumn of 1896, the number of deaths from the disease in India to March 16, 1907, has been 4,767,141.

These facts, for which The British Medical Journal is the authority, are appalling. Even in India, a human life may be assumed to be worth $1,000, and it seems probable that the expenditure of $4,767,141,000 by the British government, partly spent on definite measures in India and partly on scientific investigation would forever abolish the plague and possibly control all epidemics. There is now much political unrest in India, and this might not be allayed even by the abolition of the plague. But the present liberal government and its secretary of state for India should appreciate their responsibilities and their duty.

 

THE POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES.

The Census Office issued some time ago a 'Statistical Atlas,' prepared under the supervision of Mr. Henry Gannett, geographer of the twelfth census, which gives many interesting tables and plates, illustrating the progress of the United States in population, vital statistics, agriculture and manufactures. We reproduce here a diagram showing the increase of population during the last century in the United States and in the principal countries of Europe.

The growth of population here, compared with that in European countries, is most striking. Only Russia has a curve at all comparable to that of the United States, although the German empire shows similar tendencies during the past decade. The vast population of European Russia, which has about doubled in sixty years, shows a very constant increase, and this will be accentuated should the death rate be reduced to the proportions normal in other countries. The results of the increase of the people of Russia will probably be the most important factor in the history of Europe during the coming century. Great Britain has maintained a constant increase, and it may be an unwarranted assumption to suppose that this will soon be checked by the decreasing birth rate and the physical deterioration due to predominant town life and factory employment. The slow growth of the French population during the century and its present stationary condition, the birth rate being almost as low as the death rate, give much anxiety in that country. There were in 1903 about 20,000 fewer births than in 1902, and 32,000 fewer than in 1901. In some departments the birth rate is far below the death rate; thus in 1903 there were in Gers 3,333 births and 4,792 deaths; in Lot-et-Garonne, 3,946 births and 5,718 deaths, etc.

The curve showing the increase of