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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/107

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103
THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

which we may hope is an advance in the civilization of the world. But the Victorian era and its great men are not less memorable because they belong to a past which can not return.

 

VITAL STATISTICS AND THE MARRIAGE RATE

Tables of vital statistics make an appeal to the imagination not surpassed by any writings in verse or prose. The events in the career of an individual are insignificant compared with the vast exhibit of human life displayed in tables of births, marriages and deaths. If the birth of a child is of more consequence than anything else, it is surely momentous that in a single country such as England half a million children were not born last year who would have been born if the birth rate had remained what it was a few years ago. If one tries to fancy the tragedy of each single death, it is quite beyond the range of the imagination to realize the meaning of a statement such as thirty years ago there died in England more people from scarlet fever than from cancer, whereas in 1910 there were 2,370 deaths from scarlet fever and 34,607 deaths from cancer.

Reference has been made here to birth rates and death rates as compiled in the excellent report of the registrar general of England, and it may be worth while to call attention to the data concerning marriage rates. The decreasing birth rate, the employment of women in industry and other social conditions lead many to surmise

PSM V83 D107 Forty years of english birth death and marriage rates at 1913.png

Birth Rates. Death Rates and Marriage Rates in England and Wales for the past Forty Years. The birth rate has decreased from 36.3 to 24.4, the death rate from 22.6 to 13.5; the marriage rate has remained about stationary since 1880.