Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 85.djvu/196

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192
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

A surprisingly large number of the eminent persons whose names appear in "Who's Who in America" were born before 1850. Table II. gives the time of birth by decades.

The eminent persons who were alive in 1912-13 are, for the most part, well along in life. Only one in a hundred was born since 1880; only fourteen in a hundred were born since 1870. Men born before 1870 were at least forty-two years old in 1912. In so far as time records are concerned, this study must deal with the period prior to 1870, since the great body of eminent persons was born before that date. More than a quarter of the total eminent persons was born before 1850, making them at least sixty-two years old. More than four fifths of the entire number were born before 1870; that is, they are at least forty-four years of age. In so far as time is a factor, interest centers in the periods before 1850, 1850-1859, and 1860-69.

The total returns give New England a material lead in the production of eminent persons. Is that lead maintained when the totals are broken up into time periods? The relation between the decade of birth, the place of birth, and the proportion of population in each section at the time of birth appears in Table III. The proportion of eminent persons born before 1850 is compared with the population in 1850. The proportion born between 1850 and 1859 is compared with the population of 1860. The population figures, in each case, refer, not to the time of birth—such a comparison is manifestly impossible. The total born in each decade is compared with the population at the end of that decade. This method should militate slightly in favor of New England, whose population in each decade constitutes a slightly smaller proportion of the total population of the United States.

 

Table III

Geographical
Division
Per
Cent.
Born
Be-
fore
1850
Per
Cent.
of
Pop.
1S50
Per Cent. Per Cent. Per Cent Per Cent.
Born
1850-
1859
Total
Pop.
1860
Born
1860-
1869
Total
Pop.
1870
Born
1870-
1879
Total
Pop.
1880
Born
1880-
1889
Total
Pop.
1890
United States 100 100 100 100 100 100
New England 30 11 .8 23 10 .1 19 9 .1 19 8 .1 12 7 .5
Middle Atlantic 33 25 .54 32 23 .8 26 22 .9 25 20 .9 37 20 .2
East North Central 17 18 .5 23 22 .1 27 23 .7 23 22 .3 25 21 .4
West North Central 2 3 .8 4 6 .9 8 10 .0 10 12 .2 6 14 .2
South Atlantic 12 20 .2 10 17 .2 11 15 .2 12 15 .1 11 14 .1
East South Central 5 14 .5 5 12 .3 5 11 .4 5 11 .1 4 10 .2
West South Central 1 4 .1 2 5 .6 2 5 .3 2 6 .7 2 7 .5
Mountain .3 .6 .8 1 1 .3 1 .9
Pacific .5 1 1 .4 2 1 .6 3 2 .3 3 3 .0
 

A perusal of Table III. reveals several very evident situations. The first three groups of States—New England, the Middle Atlantic States